Bavarian Jabs Suspended After Glitch In Cold Chain Prompts Concerns Of Pfizer Vaccine Batch Going Off.
Covid-19 immunization had to be suspended in nine Bavarian districts on Sunday, Dec. 27, over concerns that the required strict cold chain conditions had not been maintained during deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine.
The complicated logistics of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s distribution made for a bumpy start to the immunization campaign in Bavaria, Germany on Sunday. The vaccine has to be stored at extremely low temperatures to maintain the stability of proteins that trigger an immune response, and it needs to be used within days once it’s unfrozen. Now, concerns over cold chain integrity has put the vaccination programme on hold.
Officials in seven districts of Upper Franconia and two districts of Swabia decided to suspend vaccinations after discovering inconsistencies in records of temperature in transport boxes. Swabian authorities have since consulted the producer and decided to proceed as planned, However, the situation in Franconia remains fluid.
The shipping boxes developed for the vaccine use dry ice to keep the temperature relatively low, but higher than below -70 degrees Celsius. The producer, Pfizer/BioNtech, says that under these conditions the vaccine remains viable for up to 10 days. Upon delivery, it needs to be put back into an extra cold freezer for long-term storage, kept in the transport box for up to 30 days with additional cold ice added as necessary or moved to a regular refrigerator and be used within five days. Once unfrozen, the vaccine cannot be frozen again.
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