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Some 'ineffective' vaccines were given at Jones Beach

A cooler a few degrees above frigid spoils 81 doses

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More than 80 people who were vaccinated for Covid-19 at Jones Beach on Feb. 15 were given ineffective doses, the New York State Department of Health recently disclosed.

According to Jill Montag, the department’s public information officer, the faulty vaccinations posed “no health risk,” and all of the people who were impacted were contacted by the health department to reschedule their appointments.

A department employee who was transporting the vaccines in insulated coolers mistakenly raised the temperature of one of the coolers, and 81 doses were deemed ineffective, according to Montag. Nearly 1,300 properly stored doses were administered that day at the state park’s drive-through vaccination site.

“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,” Montag said. “This process worked, allowing us to quickly pinpoint this issue, identify the extremely small number of individuals impacted, and immediately begin taking action.”

Montag added that residents should not let the incident deter them from getting their vaccinations. “Overall, tens of thousands of doses have been administered at Jones Beach — 99 percent of which are not impacted,” she said.

Last week, New York’s eligibility requirements for residents to be vaccinated expanded to include those with underlying health conditions.

“In order to vaccinate residents with comorbidities, we will be partnering with various community partners, including our [federally qualified health centers], which will help us reach our vulnerable populations in our hardest-hit communities,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

She added that the county’s information technology team is in the process of creating a streamlined registration system to make it easier for residents to schedule vaccination appointments and “alleviate the hassle of going on a wild goose chase for a vaccine.”

The New York state website, www.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov, features an “Am I Eligible” app, which residents can use to check their eligibility before they make an appointment.

The site also has a list of all state-run vaccination sites in Nassau County, which include Jones Beach, Nassau Community College in Garden City, the Yes We Can Community Center in Westbury and Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, as well as five others.

Nassau County has its own website for vaccine information, www.nassaucountyny.gov/vaccine.

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which are being used in the county, require two doses. The state site should automatically schedule a second appointment, while county officials will contact residents who received their first doses at county-run sites.

Andrew Garcia contributed to this story.