COVID-19 vaccine goes to waste

Vaccine provider suspended by Ohio Department of Health after failing to monitor the temperature at which COVID-19 vaccine was held, resulting in the loss of hundreds of doses. (KPRC)

(NBC NEWS) – A Columbus vaccine provider was suspended by the Ohio Department of Health, accused of failing to monitor the temperature at which COVID-19 vaccine doses were held.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, SpecialtyRX, a vaccine provider in Columbus, was given 1,500 vaccines to vaccinate residents at eight long-term care facilities before the new year.

After administering the first doses, ODH said SpecialtyRX had 890 doses remaining. The company was exploring a transfer of the doses to another provider when it was discovered that they had failed to appropriately monitor temperatures in their refrigerator and freezer, according to ODH.

The health department requires all COVID-19 vaccine providers to check and record minimum and maximum temperatures of refrigerators and freezers each workday.

The lack of temperature monitoring means the doses are not usable.

“If you deviate from those storage conditions, you essentially have to waste the product,” said Dr. Zach Jenkins, an infectious disease expert and associated professor of pharmacy at Cedarville University. “You have to really kind of throw it in the waste bin, so to speak, and one of the reason for that is we just don’t have the data to tell us how stable and safe that product is beyond that window of time.”

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