8,900 doses of Moderna COVID vaccine thought ruined on way to Michigan deemed OK to use

COVID-10 vaccines in Michigan
Photo credit Getty Images - FILE

(WWJ) There's good news about thousands of COVID-19 vaccines in Michigan that officials thought were spoiled during shipment.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Monday it's been notified by the CDC that Moderna doses shipped earlier this month that were initially believed to have been kept too cold for a time remain viable and can be used to vaccinate Michiganders.

The 8,900 doses shipped by McKesson in mid-January had their temperature reported as going out of range and getting too cold by the monitoring device used to check the vaccine temperature while in transport. Initial reports had the total doses impacted at 11,900.

McKesson completed an internal investigation and determined the cause and lower limit of the cold excursion in these shipments, MDHHS said.

Based on data provided as part of that investigation, Moderna agreed that the vaccine in this shipment was viable upon arrival and remains viable under the following circumstances:

- Doses are confirmed to have been stored in quarantine at -20 C, or
- Doses are confirmed to have been stored in quarantine at 2-8 C and the doses were placed in refrigerated storage within 30 days.

“We are pleased we will be able to use these vaccines to protect Michiganders from the virus 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, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “These safeguards are put into place to ensure the integrity of the vaccine and based on the investigation that was conducted, these vaccines can now be used.”

The health department noted that vaccines are shipped to vaccine providers across the state by the manufacturers and distributors. No vaccine is shipped or distributed by MDHHS.

This news comes the same day MDHHS and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the state has administered over 1 million COVID-19 vaccines, making Michigan 7th in the country in vaccine distribution.

“The state has been hard at work administering the safe and effective COVID vaccine, and we have made great strides over the past several weeks,” said Khaldun. “One of the most important things Michiganders can do right now is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it becomes available to you. The state and our partners in health care and business will continue working day and night to reach our goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day. And until we end the pandemic, remember to mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings where the virus can spread easily from person to person.”

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.