Thousands of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were potentially compromised when they were shipped to sites at out-of-range temperatures. Moderna and federal officials are looking into whether the 4,400 doses sent to Maine and 11,900 does that arrived in Michigan earlier this week are viable for inoculation since they arrived at lower than recommended temperatures.
According to Fox News, the botched doses were transported by the same distributor, McKesson. Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control said that the shipments have a temperature tracking monitoring device that signals when things go awry. Shah said that the boxes arrived in Maine marked with a “red X” instead of a “green checkmark.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a storage and handling summary that states the Moderna vaccine must “arrive frozen between minus 25 degrees Celsius and minus 15 degrees Celsius.” The CDC says that all shipments must be examined for signs of damage and that the TagAlert Temperature Monitor in the box must be verified by pressing a blue button.
If the left arrow is illuminated indicating a green checkmark, the vaccine is ready to use, according to the CDC. However, if the right arrow points to a red X, the agency says in bold type: DO NOT USE!
According to Fox News, the temperature of the vaccine should not dip below minus 40 degrees Celsius. McKesson said that the “gel packs were not left out to be thawed appropriately, but rather were just tossed into the boxes,” according to Shah, who added that it is possible that since the temperature error was on the low end, rather than on the high end, the vaccines may still be serviceable. In the meantime, replacement doses have been sent out to both states.
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