Ohio vaccine distributor suspended after improperly storing, spoiling 890 doses

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Ohio officials have suspended a vaccine distributor it said mishandled nearly 900 doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.

The state health department said in a Wednesday announcement that Columbus provider SpecialtyRX received 1,500 doses for residents of eight long-term care facilities. The provider used the first half of the shipment to give residents their first doses, but stored the remainder in its refrigerator and freezer and did not properly monitor the temperature to assure the shots remained viable.

“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,” the department said in a statement.

The department said state officials have confirmed the affected doses were no longer viable and has stopped any future allocations to the provider. The state has administered a total of 842,433 vaccinations thus far, according to an analysis by NBC News. Less than 1 percent of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated.

“For the second dose, the long term care facilities will have to coordinate with another provider which will likely be the local health department,” the health department said in its statement.

The announcement is the latest of several state and local hiccups in connection with distribution of the shots. This week, New York City announced it would reschedule 23,000 residents’ vaccination appointments due to supply issues.

“Right now the best solution is what the Biden admin is committed to, expanding supply using the Defense Production Act. We need the supply expanded in a huge way and I truly believe that is what the Biden administration will do,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

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