The state confirmed Tuesday it had to discard 75 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine because of potential overheating during delivery to a Clayton hospital.
It was unclear how troublesome the loss of the vaccine would be for the state, given the limited volume of 17,550 doses New Mexico has received this week for front-line medical workers. Each person vaccinated requires two doses.
A spokesman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office said the 75 doses were en route from the state Department of Health’s warehouse in Albuquerque to Union County General Hospital in Clayton when a digital gauge indicated the storage temperature might be too warm.
The vaccine must be kept at about 100 degrees below zero, requiring it to be stored in an ultra-cold freezer or on dry ice.
Governor’s Office spokesman Matt Nerzig said the “temperature excursion” probably wasn’t a result of flawed packing but a glitch in the data-logging device.
Crews were unable to verify what the vaccine’s temperature was during transport, Nerzig said.
“It was decided in the interests of safety to discard the product and resend a new shipment tomorrow,” Nerzig said.
Officials with Union County General Hospital could not be reached after business hours Tuesday to comment on the incident.
The vaccine shipment was one of 18 that went from the Department of Health warehouse to hospitals throughout New Mexico on Tuesday. Five more hospitals were scheduled to receive vaccine doses directly from Pfizer that day.
Health care workers in the COVID-19 unit at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center were the first in the state to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Monday as part of the nation’s mass vaccination campaign following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency approval of the vaccine Friday. Credis AP.

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