BOSTON (WHDH) - Nearly 2,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine spoiled at Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center earlier this week following a freezer failure, officials announced Friday.
VA Boston Pharmacy staff found that the freezer had failed on Tuesday, resulting in 1,900 vaccine doses being compromised, according to a VA Boston Healthcare System spokesperson. They all had to be thrown away.
“The freezer was in a secure location and had an alarm system installed,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The plug was found loose after a contractor accidentally removed it while cleaning.”
Massachusetts Congressman Stephen Lynch confirmed that a pipe burst in a freezer that was set at -20 degrees, causing the vaccines to spoil.
“It’s our belief at this time that it was just sort of a perfect storm,” Lynch told reporters during a news conference.
The alarm system never sounded when the contractor inadvertently knocked the plug loose.
Veteran Robert French says it’s a shame that the doses went to waste but that accidents happen.
“Nineteen-hundred people could have used that but an accident’s an accident. We’re only human,” he said. “Hopefully they get some more and they start distributing it, get it going, to save lives.”
Lynch added that the incident was “simply an accident.”
Vaccines that were salvaged have since been moved to Brockton.
Replenishment doses are being processed and the spokesperson says they do not foresee disruption of their vaccination effort.
Lynch noted that the state is taking “every reasonable precaution” to ensure that a similar incident doesn’t happen again.
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