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Thousands Of Vaccine Doses Set Aside By Maine CDC May Have Gotten Too Cold In Shipping, Not Too Hot

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.

Public health officials, and scientists at vaccine maker Moderna, are still trying to determine what caused temperature disruptions to multiple shipments of vaccine, rendering them potentially unusable.

On Monday, 35 of 50 shipments arrived in Maine with their temperature control devices triggered.

The initial fear, says Maine CDC director Nirav Shah, was that temperatures became too hot. But he says it’s now possible that the situation was actually the opposite.

“According to the distributor, McKesson, some of the gel packs that are used to maintain the appropriate temperatures during shipping on Sunday, were actually too cold,” he says.

Shah says if temperatures were too cold, it’s more likely that the vaccine may be salvaged, but he stresses that won’t happen until health officials and experts at Moderna determine that to be the case.

Meanwhile, he says all 4,400 affected doses have been set aside and replaced.

According to Maine CDC more than 92 thousand vaccines have been administered.