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Kaiser Permanente Lakewood Medical Offices threw out 165 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday after they were ruined following a power outage at the facility.
The power outage, which Kaiser said was brief and caused by high winds, caused a refrigerator storing doses of Moderna’s vaccine to stop working, resulting in the vaccines exceeding the required storage temperature. Staff at the facility worked throughout the day to administer as many doses of the vaccine as possible and were able to give 135 people shots before they expired, said a statement from Kaiser.
“Power to the facility and the refrigerator has since been restored and the refrigerator at this location used to store the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines is again working properly,” said the statement. “No other Kaiser Permanente facility was impacted.”
The incident reflects how fragile COVID-19 vaccines are. For example, Pfizer’s doses have to be stored at ultra cold temperatures. Both shots have to be administered quickly. The state has also told providers, such as local public health agencies and hospitals, that they must administer the shots within 72 hours of receiving them.
Colorado receives about 70,000 doses of vaccine per week.
It is the second known instance of COVID-19 vaccines getting thrown out. Pueblo Local Public Health “rendered 300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine unusable after a portable vaccine storage unit malfunctioned,” said a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in an email.
“The state’s goal is to use every single available vaccine, acknowledging that emergencies may occur infrequently in the distribution process,” the spokesperson said.
As of Wednesday, Colorado has administered 270,800 doses of COVID-19. That includes giving 46,897 people their second shot, according to the state health department.