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Nearly 2,000 vaccine doses spoiled at Boston hospital

January 22, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Nearly 2,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were spoiled at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Boston after a contractor accidentally unplugged a freezer, hospital officials announced Thursday.

Staff at the Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center discovered on Tuesday that a freezer had failed, compromising 1,900 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The plug to the freezer was found to be loose after a contractor accidentally unplugged it while cleaning, according to a statement from Kyle Toto, a spokesperson for VA Boston Healthcare System. The freezer had been in a safe location and had an alarm system, he said.

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The system is investigating the cause of the incident and why the monitoring alarm system did not work. More doses are on the way, Toto said, and officials “do not foresee disruption” of the system’s vaccination effort.

Temperature issues have caused problems for vaccine rollouts in other states.

Nearly 12,000 Moderna doses that were being shipped to Michigan on Sunday were spoiled after getting too cold. In Wisconsin, a pharmacist faces charges after authorities say he deliberately ruined hundreds of doses by removing them from refrigeration for two nights.

The Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at regular freezer temperatures, but not the ultra-cold required for Pfizer-BioNTech’s shot.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

The number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths rose by 80 on Friday while the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased by more than 4,900.

The new deaths pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 13,702 and its confirmed caseload since the start of the pandemic to nearly 468,000.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were more than 2,000 people reported hospitalized Friday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 420 in intensive care units.

The average age of those hospitalized was 71. There were more than 89,000 current estimated active cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The number of probable or confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities rose to 7,857.