US officials had to return Pfizer vaccine doses after they got too cold

Federal officials had to quarantine and return several thousand doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in two different states after they became too cold during the transport process.

Army Gen. Gustave Perna, the CEO of Operation Warp Speed, told reporters Wednesday that an “anomaly” caused two trays at separate locations in California to fall to minus 92 degrees Celsius.

Pfizer’s vaccine requires a storage temperature of minus 80 degrees Celsius.

Perna said they don’t know how it happened, or what the effect on the vaccines will be.

“We locked those trays down. They never left the truck, and we returned them immediately back to Pfizer and we sent immediate shipments to replace those,” Perna said.

Perna said the same “anomaly” happened in Alabama.

More doses coming? Meanwhile, the Trump administration is continuing negotiations with Pfizer for additional doses by the middle of next year.

Operation Warp Speed chief science adviser Moncef Slaoui said the government is in active talks with Pfizer to secure 100 million additional doses, despite the company warning it won’t be able to deliver more until next summer– raising the possibility of a shortage as the U.S. races to vaccinate as many people as possible.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters he was “optimistic,” and that the administration has been working to help Pfizer maximize manufacturing capacity after the company recently informed the administration about “manufacturing challenges.”

Federal officials have insisted they have enough doses, with Azar saying Wednesday that the government has contracted for the delivery of 900 million doses of vaccines across different companies, with the option to increase it to 3 billion.