Ice and snow closed vaccination sites this week
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Health officials confirmed Friday that more than 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses that were set to expire had to be discarded this week.
Most Shelby County Health Department vaccination sites were closed and vaccination appointments because of the ice, snow and extreme cold of the past week.
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Dr. Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department, said the department was able to give out “well over 2,000” doses before they expired, despite challenges from ice and snow this week. Many of those doses went to teachers, and others went to county inmates and detainees.
“The majority of our vaccine was used and we were able to get that out despite all of the inclement weather,” she said.
Haushalter said some doses of the Pfizer vaccine were prepared to be used by those who had scheduled appointments, but all COVID vaccination sites were closed due to the weather Thursday. Those doses have to be used within five days of being removed from a frozen state.
Friday, the unused doses were discovered on the day they were set to expire. They had to be discarded.
“If we had known an expiration date, we would have done anything that we could to get them out,” Haushalter said.
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Haushalter said a pharmacist for the health department, contracted through Regional One, is in charge of keeping up with vaccine expiration dates.
Haushalter said the department will begin removing only small batches of vaccine.
Starting next week, the Shelby County Health Department will begin vaccinating teachers and individuals over the age of 65.
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