TULSA, OK – [May 19, 2021] – The Tulsa Health Department is contacting 1,150 individuals who received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after an internal cold chain protocol error was discovered and immediately corrected. There is no known health risk to these individuals, and health officials recommend the dose be repeated to ensure the full efficacy and protection against the virus.
Individuals who received a dose of affected Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a THD clinic May 3-17 will be contacted by a THD representative to schedule an appointment to repeat their dose. The affected clinics are the James O. Goodwin Health Center, the Central Regional Health Center, the Sand Springs Health Center, and the North Regional Health and Wellness Center. No other clinic locations were impacted. Individuals can reference their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to verify the date of vaccine administration.
“The health and safety of those we serve in our clinics is the top priority of the Tulsa Health Department,” said THD Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “Proper vaccine storage and handling is paramount to the vaccine administration process. We immediately implemented additional cold chain control measures to ensure this does not happen in the future.”
Storage and handling guidelines for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine state that before mixing, the vaccine may be stored in the freezer between -13°F to 5°F for up to 2 weeks. The total time vials are stored at these temperatures should be tracked and should not exceed 2 weeks. Vaccine stored in the freezer can be transferred to refrigerator storage for an additional 120 hours (5 days).
The vaccine was inadvertently administered after being stored in the freezer for longer than the recommended time by 1 to 14 additional days. THD officials contacted the vaccine manufacturer, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to determine the corrective course of action. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines state “vaccine exposed to inappropriate temperatures that is inadvertently administered should generally be repeated.”
The CDC advised, “Since all currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines are not live, the dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can be repeated as soon as possible in the opposite arm. All affected patients should be offered revaccination. We would consider people receiving one additional dose as fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their final dose.
• If the invalid dose is the first dose, repeat the dose as soon as possible in the opposite arm. Administer the second dose 21 days after the repeat dose.
• If the invalid dose is the second dose, repeat the dose as soon as possible in the opposite arm. This will complete the series.
• Note: We do not recommend a third dose for pregnant women at this time due to lack of data. We would recommend revaccination for all other people.”
Individuals who received the invalid dose will receive a phone call from a THD public health professional to schedule their appointment for a repeat dose. Those who believe they may have received an affected dose can call the Tulsa Health Department at 918-582-9355. Receiving an additional dose is not expected to have an elevated risk and side effects will be similar to previous doses, such as localized soreness where the vaccine was injected, general muscle aches and fatigue, fever or chills.
As of May 16, the Tulsa Health Department has administered more than 122,311 doses of COVID-19 vaccine according to the Oklahoma State Immunization Information System (OSIIS).
COVID-19 vaccines are available at the following Tulsa Health Department locations. Each clinic offers the option to choose from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. More information regarding vaccine clinic locations in Tulsa County can be found at vaccinate918.com. Masks are required to be worn. Those 17 and under must have a parent or guardian present for consent to receive the vaccine.
James O. Goodwin Health Center | 5051 S. 129 E. Ave., Tulsa, OK
Central Regional Health Center | 315 S. Utica, Tulsa, OK
North Regional Health and Wellness Center | 5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tulsa OK
Sand Springs Health Center | 306 E. Broadway, Sand Springs, OK
The Community Vaccination Center at the Tulsa Community College Northeast Campus, 3727 E Apache St, accepts walk-ins with no appointment required. The Center is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday and offers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine only.
Individuals may also contact their local health department, private provider or pharmacy to schedule a repeat dose.
More information regarding vaccine clinic locations in Tulsa County can be found at vaccinate918.com. THD continues to offer specimen collection for COVID-19 testing by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled online. Call 918-582-9355 to speak to a public health professional. For more information about COVID-19, please visit tulsa-health.org/COVID19.
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