DENVER – Colorado vaccine and health officials said Thursday that people who received vaccines at Riverdale Regional Park at the Adams County Fairgrounds received viable doses upon a review of temperature logs from the temporarily-shuttered clinic.
Brigadier General Scott Sherman, the director of Colorado’s vaccine joint task force, said Thursday that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment suspended vaccine administration operations at Riverdale Regional Park and at Front Range Community College – two sites run by Advanced Urgent Care, after the refrigerators at the sites were found not to be maintaining the required temperatures of between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.
Advanced Urgent Care’s vaccination site in Brighton was not temporarily shuttered, but a CDPHE spokesperson confirmed that two other Advanced Urgent Care locations in Westminster and Centennial were told to stop their vaccination programs, though those locations were not providing vaccines at the time, the state and company said.
Sherman said the suspension was ordered on April 16 when state investigators looked at temperature logs for the refrigerators, which were approved by the CDPHE, and found that some of them were not maintaining that necessary temperature range, and thus, possible putting the viability of doses at risk.
The brigadier general said after reviewing the temperature logs, the state also found some issues with how Advanced Urgent Care was tracking their inventory, so an inspection team was sent to the fairgrounds location and others run by the company.
He said the state was working with the three companies that have vaccines approved under emergency use authorization – Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna – to determine whether the companies believe the temperature swings rendered the doses nonviable. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have said they did not, Sherman said.
And CDPHE spokesperson Brian Spencer said in an email late Thursday afternoon that Moderna had also found the doses administered were viable.
“The state collected all vaccines at the fairgrounds site and moved them to the state lab for safe storage. The Purcell St. location in Brighton continued vaccinating as that site is meeting all vaccine provider requirements. The three other sites did not have vaccines at them,” Spencer said.
“Vaccine manufacturers of Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J reviewed temperature data provided by Advanced Urgent Care and determined that doses of their vaccines from the fairgrounds location were viable when administered,” he added, in the statement.
The investigation started after the Dr. Moma clinic in Colorado Springs was shut down over violations with their vaccination operation, which also led to a state review of temperature logs at other sites administering vaccines across the state.
Sherman said the state was still reviewing logs from about 200 of 1,440 providers, but said no other issues had so far been discovered.
Jaimyn Taylor, the director of business development for Advance Urgent Care, said the company was not sure how many Pfizer or Moderna vaccines were administered at the two sites where vaccines were suspended but said only 15 Johnson & Johnson vaccines had been administered. Taylor said the Front Range Community College site had only been open for a total of five days so far.
“We are following every rule from CDPHE and we want to do things right,” Taylor said in an interview, adding that the company was working to transfer anyone’s appointments that had been canceled to the Brighton clinic.
“Patients that are confused and everything because they are hearing this on the news, but we are communicating with them. We are rescheduling appointments. We are trying to get them into our Brighton clinic as soon as possible,” Taylor said.
Advanced Urgent Care has a call and chat bot set up on its website, and people can text 720-807-1706 to reschedule appointments.
Taylor expressed some frustration with the ordeal, saying the company wished it had been known about the temperature fluctuations on the approved refrigerators sooner before having to shut down abruptly.
“So, we really weren’t concerned because … we never saw any issues with the refrigerators.”
Taylor and state officials said the locations where vaccines were being administered could hopefully be back up and running in a few weeks, once new refrigerators arrive.
“We wish that they would have had these maybe more-strict parameters starting off that we could have learned from, but on the other hand, I’m not saying it’s all their fault,” said Taylor. “We are the ones that are there on site and administering it and we should have had an idea of when this was occurring.”