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About 6,000 COVID Vaccine Doses Potentially Spoiled In OC Due To Refrigerator Malfunction

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — About 6,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine were potentially spoiled at the Soka University Super POD vaccination site in Aliso Viejo Wednesday due to a malfunctioning refrigerator.

"It's in that range," Orange County CEO Frank Kim said of the number of doses potentially spoiled. "We don't have an exact number yet."

Kim said it's still possible the vaccines could be used.

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 inoculations can begin. The vaccine must be used within six hours of being thawed to room temperature.

"We're in discussions with the manufacturer to see what can be done with the vaccine," Kim said.

Kim emphasized that none of the vaccines were used and that other doses were brought in so appointments made for Wednesday would not be affected.

However, a man posted on social media that he and his parents were turned away from Soka by deputies. He said all 8 a.m. appointments were canceled.
"You can't roll back time. It's done," said resident John Schauer. "The idea is to find out what happened and let's not do it again."

By 1 p.m., there was a line of cars heading on campus for vaccine appointments.

In a statement, an Orange County spokesperson said, " We are working with the vaccine manufacturer to determine if the vaccine can be used. Additional vaccine was brought in to fulfill all of the appointments scheduled at Soka."

There was a tweet from the county health care agency at 10:23 a.m. saying that some second dose appointments this weekend had to be rescheduled to better manage vaccine supply.

Meanwhile Wednesday, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported 454 new cases of COVID- 19, noting that coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continued to trend downward.

The county also reported 35 more fatalities. The numbers brought the county's death toll to 3,451 and the cumulative caseload to 240,220.

Of the deaths logged Wednesday, seven were skilled nursing facility residents, raising the total to 879 since the pandemic began. Three were assisted living facility residents, raising that total to 380.

The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus dropped from 1,058 on Tuesday to 1,009 on Wednesday, and the number of patients in intensive care decreased from 324 to 310, according to the OCHCA.

The county's state-adjusted ICU bed availability remains at zero, and the unadjusted figure increased from 10.2% Tuesday to 12.1% Wednesday.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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