Shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine originally believed to be ruined en route to Michigan are viable and can be used in vaccinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Michigan health officials.
On Jan. 19, distributor McKesson Corp. reported to the state of Michigan that the majority of 21 shipments, or 11,900 vaccine doses, got too cold in transport and were deemed unusable. The Moderna vaccine is stored and shipped at roughly 4 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The vaccine shipments are equipped with a temperature monitoring device to ensure safe transport.
However, after investigation by McKesson, the corrected total of 8,900 doses were stored at the correct temperature or maintained temperatures below 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit before entering refrigeration. The CDC now says the doses are viable and can be used for vaccinating Michiganders within 30 days of the incident. It's unclear where the doses were distributed in the state.
"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 percent of Michiganders over age 16 as quickly as possible with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine," Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said in a press release. "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."
As of Jan. 29, nearly 1.48 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna have been distributed in Michigan since mid-December. Only 909,038 vaccines have been administered, according to state data. Most counties in Michigan are rushing to vaccinate teachers as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pushing for the return to full in-class learning at schools across the state on March 1. Oakland County has administered the most vaccines thus far at 123,716, followed by Wayne County at 90,794.
Those aged 65 and older are also qualified to receive the vaccine across Michigan.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Detroit Business.