Nearly 12K doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine ruined en route to Michigan, state officials say

Distributor McKeeson says temperature to store the vaccine became too cold

Officials said shipments of the Moderna vaccine were rendered unusable because of temperature issues.

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan officials said 11,900 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine the state was receiving are ruined and unusable.

“That frustrates me when I know we are in a race and every vaccine matters, but that is not something I can control. It’s not Michigan’s fault,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Twenty-one shipments of the Moderna vaccine were rendered unusable because of temperature issues with the distributor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the vaccine must be stored in a freezer between minus 13 degrees and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The distributor, McKesson Corporation, told the state the temperature went out of range and got too cold, affecting nearly 12-thousand doses.

READ: Wayne County shifts to Moderna COVID-19 vaccine amid Pfizer supply shortage

READ: Washtenaw County Health Department postpones appointments due to low COVID-19 vaccine supply

In a statement, Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Kaldhun said, “This is the first report of vaccine potentially being compromised during shipment in Michigan and we are working quickly with the distributor to have replacement vaccine shipped out.”

McKesson said it “identified the root cause of the issue -- some of the gel packs used to maintain appropriate temperatures during shipping were found to be too cold -- and have taken steps to prevent this from occurring in the future.”

State officials said the majority of the 21 shipments were resent Monday night. However, six additional shipments were also held back to make sure there were no issues with the vaccine. That state warned that could delay scheduled vaccinations at various provider sites.

”I’m certain that people who had appointments, who were scheduled at facilities that were supposed to get those particular shots, were frustrated they weren’t able to get them,” Whitmer said.


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.