Commission to investigate construction of Health Board's cold store

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

The construction of the Health Board's cold store, which malfunctioned destroying thousands of vaccines, will be investigated alongside the alarm system, State Secretary Taimar Peterkop told ERR on Wednesday.

In total, after the cold store's temperature rose over the Midsummer holiday, €3 million worth of vaccines and medicines were destroyed after an alarm system did not sound. A commission was launched on July 2 to find out the cause.

Peterkop said there are several different lines of inquiry that need to be studied.

"The most difficult thing is whether it has all been built properly," he said. "This requires specialist competence to assess whether the building, all the different conditions it has to meet, all the equipment, if everything is exactly as planned."

The cold store is a fairly new building and was build in 2017, Peterkop said. The alarm system will be investigated separately and the commission will present the final report in a few weeks time.

"I think it is most sensible to give the competent authorities time to complete the investigation. All the questions: who is responsible for whether the insurance covers it [the costs] depends on how the cold store is built and how it is maintained. I understand that everyone wants answers. But it is better to let the specialists do the analysis before we start pointing fingers. Technical work, processing documentation, inspecting machines, is just time consuming," he said.

It will be up to the prosecutor's office to decide if criminal proceedings will be launched after the report has been completed.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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