Almost 12,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine were spoiled en route to Michigan because they got too cold, state health officials said.
Twenty-one shipments of the vaccine – or 11,900 doses — sent Sunday by a Texas-based distributor, McKesson Corporation, were deemed unusable after falling below the federally recommended range of minus 13 degrees to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Although it is unfortunate that this vaccine will not be able to be used, we are pleased that the safeguards put into place to ensure the integrity of the vaccine worked,” the state’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said in a statement.
Khaldun said the incident marked the first report of a vaccine “potentially being compromised” during shipment to Michigan, where roughly 29,000 doses per day were doled out last week.
Each shipment contains a device that monitors the temperature of the vaccine during transport. The majority of the 21 shipments were resent late Monday, with the rest sent out on Tuesday, health officials said.
McKesson discovered the issue on Monday, a spokesman said.
“McKesson is replacing these vaccines,” McKesson spokesman David Matthews told The Post in a statement. We also identified the root cause of the issue – some of the gel packs used to maintain appropriate temperatures during shipping were found to be too cold – and have taken steps to prevent this from occurring in the future.”
The company “proactively reviewed” other doses slated for shipment Monday and found a small percentage were also impacted by the gel pack issue and were not shipped. They will be replaced within the next 24 hours, Matthews said.
“An additional six shipments were held back to check that there were no issues with the vaccine which may delay scheduled vaccinations at those six vaccine provider sites,” the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
None of the affected doses were administered to residents, an agency spokeswoman told The Post.
“It already has been or will be replaced this week,” spokeswoman Lynn Suftin wrote in an email early Wednesday.
The cause of the temperature issue is under investigation by McKesson, health officials said.
A message seeking comment from a McKesson spokesman was not immediately returned.
A healthcare worker is seen receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on January 5, 2021.AP Photo/Paul SancyaGov. Gretchen Whitmer, who proposed a $5.6 billion recovery plan to fight the pandemic Tuesday, acknowledged at a news conference she was frustrated by the incident since “every vaccine matters,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
“But that’s not something that I could control,” Whitmer told reporters. “It’s not the state of Michigan’s fault. … I’m certain that people who had appointments scheduled at facilities that were supposed to get those particular shots were frustrated because they weren’t able to get them. That’s part of the bumpy road that we are all experiencing nationwide.”
With Post wires