Ketchikan wasn’t able to use the first COVID-19 vaccines because they weren’t cold enough

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A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines that arrived in the Southeast Alaskan community in Ketchikan this week was deemed unusable due to the temperature of the shipment when officials received it.

Like many other small communities in the state, Ketchikan received a smaller shipment of vaccines compared to the larger shipments received by communities like Juno and Anchorage, according to Kaji Paxton, a media officer at the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center. The community was charged with fewer doses which were separated from the large charge.

Paxton said the 20 doses – planned for the fire department and public health workers – were placed in smaller containers than the larger ones that arrived directly from Pfizer in larger communities in the state.

She said the doses had been determined to be outside the company’s set temperature range for too long and that the vaccines, which arrived in Ketchikan on Wednesday, could not be used.

“The shipment and process details have been documented, and improvements are being applied to the next shipment,” Paxton said in a statement.

Paxton said Ketchikan received a replacement shipment of vaccines Friday morning and some of the first vaccinations were given to Kechikan on the same day.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Phil Schwartz

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