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20 Jan, 2021 14:46

THOUSANDS of Moderna Covid vaccine doses spoil in Maine & Michigan due to temperature control issues

THOUSANDS of Moderna Covid vaccine doses spoil in Maine & Michigan due to temperature control issues

More than 15,000 doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine have been deemed likely unusable by health authorities in Maine and Michigan, after both states failed to properly store batches of the drug.

In a press release, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services said that it had been notified by a medical supplies company hired to deliver the vaccine to distribution sites around the state that nearly 12,00 doses had become too cold while in transit and were no longer safe for use. 

In a statement to local media, the firm, McKesson, explained that some of the gel packs used to maintain appropriate temperatures during shipping were found to be too cold. The company said it has “taken steps to prevent this from occurring in the future,” and state officials said replacement shipments for the spoiled doses are en route.  

Also on rt.com California halts injections of Moderna Covid vaccine batch due to ‘higher-than-usual number of adverse events’

According to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vaccine should be stored in a refrigerator between two degrees Celsius (36 Fahrenheit) and eight degrees Celsius (46 Fahrenheit) for up to 30 days before vials are punctured. Once the vials are opened, the vaccines can remain at room temperature for up to 12 hours before they’re considered unusable. 

Michigan aims to vaccinate 70 percent of residents aged 16 and older, but the ambitious goal has already faced challenges due to supply issues. The state had requested 444,306 vaccine doses from the federal government, but was only allocated 258,100 injections. 

Michigan isn’t alone in its struggle to properly store the shots, however. Maine officials said on Tuesday that a majority of Moderna vaccine shipments to locations around the state, totalling some 4,400 doses, would likely have to be tossed after it was discovered that they were not kept adequately cold. 

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah said that an investigation has been launched to determine why the doses were not properly stored. 

The potentially contaminated doses have been set aside and won’t be distributed to the public, officials said. Moderna is reportedly helping the state determine if the vaccine batch can be salvaged. Replacement doses are already on their way. 

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Moderna received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration at the end of December to place its Covid-19 jab on the US market. But the rollout has not been without its setbacks. Last week, California halted injections of a particular batch of the Moderna drug after state health officials said that the doses had been linked to an unusually high number of adverse events. Moderna is currently investigating the issue.

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