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21 shipments of the Moderna vaccine damaged while in transport to Michigan

Moderna Vaccine
Posted at 7:28 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 07:28:47-05

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Several shipments of the Moderna vaccine arriving in Michigan have been compromised due to an issue with storage, Michigan State Police said in a release Tuesday.

A total of 21 shipments from McKesson Corporation, a pharmaceutical distributor, were impacted during transport Sunday, Jan. 17. It was reported that the temperature of the shipments had gone out of range and became too cold. Now McKesson is investigating the cause.

This delay is adding to problems already with the distribution process in Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties.

Trying to get the vaccine hasn’t been easy. Just trying to get a spot really comes down to luck. People who want the vaccine say it’s frustrating, and they're concerned about when they might be able to get it.

“I can’t even get through. I have not even spoken to a person,” said Karie Wilson, a teacher in Macomb County. Wilson has been trying to get the vaccine as soon as the state went into Phase 1B.

“I called 163 times today and never even got the recording,” she said.

Wilson says it’s frustrating not being able to book a time, but it’s even more frustrating not knowing when a time will open up.

“There are not enough appointments for everyone eligible to get a vaccine right now,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“So all of those shipments were actually reshipped with McKesson today, and we know that they are arriving at those 21 sites,"Khaldun said of the impact of the Moderna shipment that was ruined due to temperature control issues. "I’ll just say the biggest issue we have is that there’s simply not enough vaccines to go around."

Karie Wilson says she understands counties aren’t getting the vaccine doses they want but says something else has to be done. “We can’t even get into a waiting list or anything," Wilson said, "so I feel if there was a better system in place, it wouldn’t be so anxiety-laden. We would feel like at least we're in the process, we're in line to essentially get a dose."

Dr. Khaldun says the state health department has been in contact with the incoming Biden administration and have requested more vaccines for Michigan.

McKesson is now repacking additional vaccines to ship out as replacement doses. Replacements for the majority of the 21 shipments that were compromised were sent on Monday night, and the rest will be sent on Tuesday.

The company says an additional six shipments were held back in order to check that there were no issues with the vaccine. This may cause a delay of scheduled vaccinations.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has been notified.

“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. Khaldun, in a statement released Tuesday. “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.”