Health Board hopes to meet company responsible for storage facility alarms

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The Health Board's cold storage unit. Source: Health Board

The Health Board (Terviseamet) was scheduled to meet with Guard Systems, the company responsible for notification systems at the board's storage facilities, following a refrigerator malfunction last week which led to the discarding of nearly 70,000 coronavirus vaccines, but the meeting has been called off. The board says it hopes to meet with the company on Friday instead, but has not received confirmation yet.

Health Board communications chief Imre Kaas told ERR that the board has been trying to arrange a meeting with Guard Systems since Monday, July 5. "We have made them an offer to meet tomorrow (Friday - ed), but we have not received a response yet," Kaas said.

He said the first meeting was supposed to take place on July 6 with the company asking to also include its Lithuanian partners, but the meeting was called off due to a Lithuanian national holiday.

ERR's Estonian portal tried to contact Guard Systems for an interview, but the company requested the inquiries be made via e-mail. The company later responded by saying they were not aware of the canceled meeting and did not wish to comment on their client relations further.

Imre Kaas said such a response is odd because he can confirm the board has reached the company by telephone. "We are in communication with them via phone and are awaiting confirmation for [Friday]. /.../ We have not gotten a single answer for our questions," he added.

On June 29, ERR News wrote that more than 250,000 vaccine doses were ruined due to rising temperatures in a Health Board cold storage unit, including 68,000 doses of AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria COVID-19 vaccine, which Estonia was set to donate to other countries. All these doses were written off.

During Midsummer week (June 21-27) the temperature in the storage room rose to 15C. This is much higher than medicines are usually stored at, which is between 2-8C.

Although the duplicated notification system should have sent an automatic alert when the temperature started to rise, this did not happen and an employee discovered the higher temperature when they checked the facility.

A few days later, another Health Board storage malfunctioned, but all vaccine doses and medicine were recovered. As of Tuesday, the Health Board still had no explanation for why the notification system did not function.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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