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Broken refrigerator spoils nearly 2,500 Covid vaccines in Porvoo

The city's social and health sector development director said an investigation into why it broke down was underway.

Porvoon kirkko
Some Porvoo residents due to be vaccinated on Monday had their appointments rescheduled. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Hundreds of residents in the south coast city of Porvoo who were due to receive Covid jabs on Monday morning were informed that their vaccination appointments had been cancelled.

In a press release, the city explained that the appointments were called off because nearly 2,500 doses had been spoiled after the refrigeration unit they were being stored in broke down over the weekend.

The city said that the doses could no longer be used, as the undiluted vaccines cannot be kept at room temperature for more than a couple of hours.

About 1,200 of the doses were manufactured by Pfizer, around 800 were from AstraZeneca and nearly 450 came from Moderna, the city said.

Porvoo's social and health sector development director Katja Blomberg said that the city was in the process of acquiring 700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS).

"Thanks to them we can resume [scheduled appointments] in the afternoon. We will also get more Moderna and AstraZeneca doses," she said in the release.

Reason for breakdown unknown

"This was very sad and we are sorry for everyone whose vaccination appointments will be pushed forwards. At the moment, we do not know why the refrigerator broke," Blomberg said, adding that the cooling unit was new and that the city was conducting a thorough investigation, vowing that this sort of incident would not happen again.

Blomberg said people who were expecting to be vaccinated on Monday morning were sent a text message informing them that their appointments needed to be rescheduled.

"Everyone will receive a new vaccination appointment via text message. If that time is unsuitable, it can be changed online or by phone," she said.

Around 62.2 percent of Porvoo's residents have received at least one Covid vaccine dose as of Monday, according to the city. For comparison, about 51 percent of the rest of Finland's population have received at least one vaccine dose.

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