Columbus COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Wasted Hundreds Of Doses, Health Department Says

Crown Pointe Care Center resident Rebecca Meeker, left, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Kate Latta, PharmD, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Meeker was the first long-term care patient in Ohio to receive a vaccine.
Crown Pointe Care Center resident Rebecca Meeker, left, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Kate Latta, PharmD, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Meeker was the first long-term care patient in Ohio to receive a vaccine. [Jay LaPrete / Associated Press]

Hundreds of doses of COVID-19 vaccine had to be thrown out after a provider in Columbus failed to keep them at the proper temperature, the Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday.

State officials suspended Columbus-based SpecialtyRX from Ohio’s vaccination program after it spoiled 890 doses of the Moderna vaccine. SpecialtyRX received a total of 1,500 doses to vaccinate residents at eight long-term care facilities by the end of the year.

The first round of shots went fine, but the state health department said the remainder went bad due to improper storage temperatures.

"After administering the first doses, SpecialtyRX had 890 doses remaining. The company was exploring a transfer of the doses to another provider when it was discovered that t hey had failed to appropriately monitor temperatures in their refrigerator and freezer," a press release from the Ohio Department of Health reads.

State officials have halted any future allocations of vaccine to the company. That means residents of those eight long-term care facilities will likely have to coordinate with local health departments to receive their second shots.

The health department is requesting an investigation into the incident from the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.

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