Rutherford County Schools says it will have to throw away 1,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine because they were put in the wrong kind of freezer.
The district received the doses of Moderna vaccine Thursday for an upcoming event. They were put in a freezer, then moved to a refrigerator, according to a statement from RCS. But then the temperature monitoring device gave an error code. Apparently, the shipment was never supposed to be put in a freezer, which was not an approved model.
School superintendent Bill Spurlock says the district “deeply regrets” the error.
Dr. Lisa Piercey, the state’s health commissioner, says there’s always added risk when working with outside partners, like a school district. And the state is doing that more and more, with at least 700 vaccination sites statewide this week.
“Obviously we have to make some systemic changes to prevent those types of errors from happening, but I know the people on the ground are just as devastated as I am,” she says.
A vaccination clinic scheduled for teachers Saturday in Rutherford County will go on, with the aid of doses from the local health department.
It’s been a rough few weeks for vaccine spoilage in Tennessee. Through the end of January, the state’s department of health only allowed 161 doses to go to waste. But with the Rutherford incident, along with an apparent shipping mixup in Knox County and Shelby County’s mounting problems, the state is approaching 5,000 wasted doses this month.