Twenty-one shipments of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine were spoiled because of temperature control issues during delivery to Michigan, state health officials said Tuesday.
Those shipments, which went out Jan. 17 and contained 11,900 doses of the vaccine, were being transported by McKesson Corp., a health care distribution company contracted with the federal government to handle coronavirus vaccines.
“Recently we were made aware that a number of Moderna vaccines that were shipped to Michigan were not kept at the appropriate temperature and thus we couldn’t use them,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
“That frustrates me when I know we are in a race and every vaccine matters. But that’s not something that I could control; 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.”
Each vaccine shipment is equipped with a temperature-monitoring device used to track the vaccine temperature while in transport, state health officials said. It is believed the Moderna vaccines in those shipments got too cold.
Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the state health department, said no one was injected with any of the spoiled doses of the vaccine.
McKesson is investigating the cause of the temperature disruption and is working to quickly repack additional doses of the vaccine to ship out as a replacement for those that may have been compromised, health officials said.
The majority of the 21 shipments were re-sent on Monday night, the rest on Tuesday.
An additional six shipments were held back to ensure there are no problems with those doses, which may delay scheduled vaccinations at those six vaccine provider sites in the state.
“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,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.
“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 vaccine potentially being compromised during shipment in Michigan and we are working quickly with the distributor to have replacement vaccine shipped out.”
McKesson did not respond Tuesday to a Free Press request for comment Tuesday.
Contact Kristen Shamus: [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus.