Thousands of Pfizer vaccine doses deemed safe after expiration concerns

Thousands of Pfizer vaccine doses are now considered safe to use at the Soka University vaccination site in Aliso Viejo.  

On Wednesday, earlier reports indicated that a refrigeration problem had potentially affected the vaccines, prompting health officials to look into the doses. The vaccine must be used within six hours of being thawed to room temperature.

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"The Pfizer vaccine must be put in a special deep freezer and then is transferred to a refrigerator to begin thawing. The next step is to mix it and let it fully thaw at room temperature before the inoculations can begin," Orange County CEO Frank Kim said.

The pharmacists who arrived at work at 4:30 a.m. to begin the process of preparing the vaccines noticed the refrigerator had malfunctioned and was not operating within the specific required temperature range, officials said.

Molly Nichelson, Orange County's Public Information Manager sent FOX 11 this statement:  

"A refrigeration problem was detected last night at Soka University rendering some vaccines unusable at this time."

Nicholson didn't confirm the exact number of vaccines that were potentially rendered useless but said, "We are working with the manufacturer to determine if the vaccine can be used and will confirm at a later time."

By Wednesday afternoon, the site seemed to be functioning without a hitch. Organizers were able to bring in enough vaccines to keep all appointments.

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City News Service contributed to this report.