Hospital forced to toss hundreds of COVID vaccine doses after worker leaves vials out

By , WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — A large hospital system says it had to toss out hundreds of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine because of an employee mistake.

Officials with Aurora Health Care said it was human error that forced it to discard 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.

On Dec. 26, someone at an Advocate Aurora facility near Milwaukee removed 50 vials of Moderna vaccine from a pharmacy refrigerator while taking out another item. The COVID-19 vaccine vials were left out mistakenly.

Medical experts say the error demonstrates how easily degradable the vaccine is. Both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines must be stored in cold conditions — Pfizer in ultra-cold conditions — before being administered.

Marquette clinical lab sciences professor Dr Nilanjan Lodh tells CBS 58 in Milwaukee the Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at about the temperature of a commercial freezer, or the molecules will fall apart.

Aurora Health officials said they were able to use some of the vaccine in Wisconsin within the 12-hour post-refrigeration period; the rest had to be tossed.

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