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Thousands Of Vaccine Doses Unusable After Exceeding Temperature Range In Shipping

Jae C. Hong
Associated Press
Boxes of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are stored in a refrigerator at an ambulance company in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021.

As the state enters the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, public health officials have determined that thousands of doses of recently arrived Moderna vaccine cannot be used due to a temperature problem somewhere along the supply chain.

Maine Center for Disease Control director Dr. Nirav Shah says the department learned the extent of the problem late Monday.

“Of the 50 shipments slated to arrive in the state, 35 had experienced a temperature at some point during the shipping process above what was required to keep the vaccine safe,” he says.

Shah says each shipment of vaccine is equipped with devices that track and monitor for temperature, and 4,400 doses of vaccine in Maine were affected. He says it’s not clear where the problems occurred, but that other states also reported receiving such shipments.

Shah says U.S. health officials are working to determine whether vaccine that’s been exposed to higher temperatures can still be used, but at this point, he says, such vaccine may not be used.

The doses are slated to be replaced Tuesday and Wednesday.

Almost 69,000 first doses of vaccine have been administered so far, with more than 12,000 people receiving second doses.