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Health Minister clarifies new Pfizer vaccines were not spoiled

By Talaia Mika

APIA, SAMOA – 14 MARCH 2022: The Minister of Health, Valasi Togamaga Tafito Selesele has clarified that the over 3,000 spoiled Pfizer vaccines that were affected by a temperature breach while in storage, have been abandoned and not used in the current vaccination roll out for school children aged 5-11.

A Health report compiled by Dr. Robert Thomsen for Cabinet stated that of 4,600 Pfizer vaccines from New Zealand, 1,710 were packed in cool boxes and transported to Savaii while 3,240 doses in storage were affected by the temperature breach two weeks ago.

The New Zealand regulatory authority Med-Safe recommended that all the Pfizer vaccines should not be used.

Valasi told Talamua that the current Pfizer vaccination rollout is made possible with the recent donation of another approximately 30,000 Pfizer doses by the government of New Zealand.

“This is to also clarify queries by members of the public on the current Pfizer roll-out whether it’s using the spoiled Pfizer vaccines,” the Minister said.

Valasi assured members of the public not to worry as the Ministry and Government are ensuring the safety of the vaccines before use.

Contradictory reasons for temperature breach
According the Ministry of Health Report, the temperature breach of the storage warehouse was caused by a sudden fluctuation with the main power supply to the warehouse on Saturday night 14 February 2022.

However the Report by the Kooline Company that services the storage walk-in cooler stated that someone had turned off the stand-by generator # 2.

“As we worked on the generator, we realized that someone had turned off the stand-by generator #2, and that is the reason why the stand-by generator could not work when the third generator had problems,” stated the report.

The Ministry of Health Report listed a substantial number of actions and recommendations to ensure the safety and security of the vaccines while stored at the Pharmaceutical Warehouse.