Health

REPORT: Nearly 2,000 COVID-19 Vaccines Spoiled At VA Hospital By Loose Freezer Plug

(Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
Font Size:

1,900 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine were reportedly rendered useless at a Massachusetts Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital after a cleaning contractor accidentally left a refrigerator unplugged.

The freezer’s alarm and monitoring systems did not work after it was accidentally unplugged by the cleaning contractor, a VA spokesperson told NBC10 Boston. The incident is not expected to delay the hospital’s vaccination efforts as replenishments are already on the way, the spokesperson reportedly said. 

Both Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines require storage at below-freezing temperatures and will spoil within hours once they are removed from freezers. Less than half of the vaccine doses that have been distributed nationwide have been administered thus far, according to the Washington Post. (RELATED: Airbnb Offers To Help Biden Administration With Vaccine Distribution In Rural Areas)

An unknown number of vaccine doses across the country have been spoiled since rollout of the medicine began in December, as some states do not carefully track the data on vaccine wastage. Wastage has occurred in storage failures like this one, as well as when patients no-show vaccine appointments or providers mishandle equipment, according to a report released this week by ProPublica.