TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Health Department is implementing a new COVID vaccine protocol because of an error that caused at least 1,150 Pfizer doses to be considered ineffective.
That count is the number of doses already administered this month. The rest of the batch was discarded.
While health officials insist no one is at risk, they also said changes have been made so the mistake does not happen again.
Doses were stored in a freezer 1-14 days longer than the recommended time, despite the current protocols THD has in place. A few of them include monitoring vials daily, logging their temperatures, and even hiring a security company that tracks temperature range.
The error was caught on Monday by clinic staff performing routine vaccine inventory. THD has since reported the situation to the state health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Both agencies recommend the 1,150 people who were given the ineffective vaccines get re-vaccinated.
“We understand this may be upsetting and inconvenient for those affected individuals and we want to ensure them that there are no increased risk to them,” said Reggie Ivey, THD chief operating officer.
Since the mishap, the department has implemented additional cold chain protocols. Vials are now clearly marked with the last end-of-use date. Staff members are making sure those dates are documented, and reminder emails are scheduled so that vials are transferred before expiration.
The ineffective doses were issued May 3-17 at four different locations.
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