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21 shipments of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine compromised in transfer due to temperature

January 19, 2021
<p>Michigan State University Health Team members sanitizing after testing patient for COVID-19 on April 2, 2020.</p>

Michigan State University Health Team members sanitizing after testing patient for COVID-19 on April 2, 2020.

Michigan State Police announced in a statement Tuesday that 21 shipments of COVID-19 were rendered unusable during distribution because of changes in their temperatures. 

The Moderna vaccine shipments were reported to have dropped below their threshold temperatures, making them ineffective and unusable. Additionally, six other shipments of the Moderna vaccine were held back to ensure no corruption to their temperatures. McKesson, the pharmaceutical distribution company responsible for the transfer of these batches, is investigating the matter, according to the statement. 

Most of the compromised shipments were replaced and redistributed by Monday night, concluding into Tuesday, the statement said. 

“We are committed to accelerating vaccine delivery as we work to reach our goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16 as quickly as possible with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in the statement. “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. This is the first report of (the) vaccine potentially being compromised during shipment in Michigan and we are working quickly with the distributor to have replacement vaccine shipped out.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Moderna vaccine should be stored in a freezer between minus 25 degrees Celsius and minus 15 degrees Celsius (minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit and 5 degrees Fahrenheit). Once refrigerated, it should be stored between 2 degrees Celsius and 8 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit and 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to 30 days before being discarded. 

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