Doses of the coronavirus vaccine at a New York state-run site were not stored at the correct temperature before being administered to people last week -- but state officials say those impacted are not at any health risk.
A spokesperson for the state's department of health said "less than a quarter of one percent" of people inoculated on Feb. 15 at the Jones Beach vaccination site were given a dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine stored "at the wrong temperature."
The state said that some vials warmed up too much in transit to the vaccination site. The issue impacted 81 of 1,379 doses administered on Feb. 15, each has been told "there will be no extra vaccine-related risks from revaccination."
Email notifications have since gone out to New Yorkers who received these doses, health officials said. The notices detailed the storage error and reassured there was no health risk from the dose, but it would not fully protect against the virus.
The email also stated that they would need to return for an additional dose,. Dr. Frederick Davis, of Northwell Long Island Jewish Hospital, said that getting a third shot of the vaccine shouldn't be harmful, especially if the dose they received is believed to have been compromised.
"Knowing that the vaccine itself is really not an active virus, it's just a part of a protein portion that it makes from the mRNA of the virus, I don't think it's necessarily dangerous that we know of to get that third dose in this case," Dr. Davis said. "A third dose doesn't really add anything as far danger to the person, and the hopes that if the first one wasn't as effective because it wasn't stored at the proper temperature that this will hopefully boost your immunity a little bit better."
The state said it would also help those impacted rebook time slots for their repeat dose.
To date, more than 3 million doses of the vaccine have been administered across the state. The Jones Beach site issue is the first known instance of temperature storage problems.
"New Yorkers' health and safety is our top priority, and due to this vaccine's very specific temperature sensitivity, we have a process in place to identify if any temperature excursions occur. This process worked, allowing us to quickly pinpoint this issue, identify the extremely small number of individuals impacted, and immediately begin taking action," Jill Montag, spokesperson for the department of health, said in a statement Monday.