SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico has discarded a 75-dose shipment of the new COVID-19 vaccine this week after a digital device showed it overheated during transportation to a hospital, officials said.
The temperature-tracking device may have malfunctioned, but state officials threw out the vaccine doses to be safe, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The problem appeared to be isolated.
Pfizer had already delivered the doses to New Mexico, and temperature problems arose during transportation from a state Department of Health warehouse to Union County General Hospital in Clayton, New Mexico, about 280 miles (450 kilometers) northeast of Albuquerque.
Pfizer said the shipment to Clayton was “through redistribution channels not managed” by the company and that extensive tracking systems ensure no patient ever gets a “vaccine that may have been impacted while in transit during the delivery process.”
Matt Nerzig, a spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, said the state made 18 vaccine shipments from a warehouse Tuesday, Dec. 15, and that only the one to Clayton had temperature issues.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines must be kept extremely cold and are shipped with dry ice at temperatures near minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 70 degrees Celsius), officials said.
A new shipment was sent Wednesday, Dec. 16, to the hospital, officials said. The first batch of Pfizer vaccines in the state, more than 17,000 doses, is largely going to health care workers at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
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