Hundreds of Pfizer doses delivered to a GP surgery in Macclesfield have been thrown away due to a ‘refrigeration issue’ meaning the town’s most vulnerable face another three week wait for the jab.
A batch of the coronavirus vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech, containing 975 doses, delivered to Waters Green Medical Centre was found to be unusable.
The problem was caused by issues refrigerating the vaccine, which needs to be kept at -70 degrees centigrade and then 2 to 8 degrees at vaccination centres for up to five days.
The same number of people who were scheduled to have the vaccine will now not get it until a later date.
More than 900 Pfizer jabs were thrown away at Waters Green Medical Centre after a ‘refrigeration issue’, leaving people waiting another three weeks
One pensioner, who asked not to be named, was due to get the jab but said he was called by Waters Green staff two hours before his appointment to be told that was not possible.
He said he must now go in three weeks – the time for the second of the two necessary shots.
The pensioner said: ‘They rang to say sorry they’d have to cancel because of a technical hitch.
‘They said it was to do with refrigeration.
‘I am now subject to further risk, my family is not very happy and I am worried, I’ve cancelled all my plans including inter-family contact as permitted over Christmas.
‘I’m now going to be spending Christmas on my own. I’d have taken the risk if I’d had the scheduled injection and had some of these antibodies generating.’
The complications have been put down to ‘refrigeration issues’ as the vaccine needs to be kept at -70 degrees centigrade and then 2 to 8 degrees at vaccination centres for up to five days. Picture: Stock
It has not been confirmed as to whether the refrigeration problems happened at the medical centre or before the vaccines arrived.
Waters Green, on Sunderland Street, houses six GP surgeries – Cumberland House Practice, High Street Surgery, Park Green Surgery, Park Lane Surgery, South Park Surgery and Broken Cross Surgery.
It is overseen by NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which has apologised for the ‘temporary issue’ and says it is being resolved.
The latest disposal of the vaccine comes days after another 975 precious doses of the Pfizer jab were reported to have been ruined after a fridge failed at Harborough Field Surgery in Rushden, Northamptonshire.
The clinic is acting as a central hub for surgeries in the area to administer the jab to selected over-80s.
Some patients received the jab on Wednesday, December 16 but others were due to get it on Thursday and Friday in the clinic, which was opening for 12 hours each day.
But on Thursday last week, patients who had been expecting to attend appointments were told to stay away because the vaccine was no longer available.
Although the vaccine roll out has begun, it is initially being offered to a small number of people due of its short supply.
Patients are being invited for the vaccine in a specific order, based on the risk from Covid-19 they face.
It has not been confirmed as to whether the refrigeration problems happened at the medical centre or before the vaccines arrived. Picture: Stock
A woman whose mum’s appointment was among those cancelled in Macclesfield said: ‘My mum is in a terrible state.
‘She can’t see her grandchildren until she has had the vaccine and was really looking forward to that, so to get this at the eleventh hour has caused massive distress.
‘A thousand people would have felt more confident to see their relatives, this is not good for Macclesfield.
‘We went from excited to deflated and want to know why this happened. We need to have answers and people need to learn from their mistakes.’
A spokesman for NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: ‘We apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment caused to patients.
‘This temporary issue is being resolved and patients should continue to come forward for their vaccination when they are asked to attend.’
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is said to be 95 per cent effective.
The Waters Green website reiterates that it has met strict regulatory standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
NHS England was also contacted for comment.