coronavirus vaccine

Florida Dept. of Health Demands Audit After Over 1,000 Vaccines Damaged in Palm Beach

Officials said power to the refrigerator storing the vaccine had been "unintentionally turned off"

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The Florida Department of Health is calling for an audit of the Palm Beach County Health Care District after more than 1,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were damaged last week.

In a Wednesday news release, the department of health said they're asking for the district to perform a full accounting of all vaccine-related equipment and procedures it has in place to store and handle the vaccines.

"It is a tragedy that even one dose of this critical resource would go to waste and not be used to save a life from COVID-19," Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said in a statement. "While we must rely on partners to distribute this critical resource, we expect that every provider treat the vaccine as the precious commodity that it is. We hope to see this situation rectified and addressed immediately to ensure the Palm Beach County Health Care District does not let one more dose go to waste."

The department is requesting that the audit be completed by Feb. 12.

A spokeswoman for the Health Care District said last week that 232 refrigerated vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were discovered to be outside the required temperature control range, WPTV reported. Those vials contained 1,160 doses of the vaccine.

The spokeswoman said the power to the refrigerator storing the vaccine had been "unintentionally turned off."

At a news conference in Palm Beach County Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the audit "100% appropriate."

"I think we need to get answers on that," DeSantis said.

All vaccination providers are required to store and handle COVID-19 vaccines under proper conditions to maintain the cold chain as outlined in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit, officials said.

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