Audit of Health Department Finds Thousands of COVID-19 Vaccines Stored Incorrectly, Could Lead to Ineffective Immune Response

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A recent audit of the Department of Health found several errors with storage and handling of COVID-19 vaccines. These included:

COVID-19 Vaccines Issued out of Incorrect Storage Locations
According to Department of Health records, at least 1,912 Moderna vaccines were stored in incorrect temperatures and were administered to patients. The audit team also found that 12,828 doses of the Pfizer vaccines were issued from storage with missing temperature data. If vaccines are not stored correctly, there could be a need for revaccination, inadequate immune response, and ineffective protection against the COVID-19 virus.
 

Incorrect Inventory and Storage Location of COVID-19 Vaccine Vials
The Department of Health was not able to provide evidence that the physical count of COVID-19 vaccines and storage locations were routinely compared to the storage location in the electronic monitoring records. It’s important to reconcile inventory, because the actual location may differ from what is in the electronic monitoring system. Correct inventory is also an important part of temperature tracking as each vaccine has different manufacturer storage requirements.
 

Incorrectly Stored and Tracked Vaccines
Digital temperature monitoring readings could not be matched to 144,988 doses of vaccines when in transport. Written temperature logs were missing entirely, or were not completed correctly. Vaccine products are temperature sensitive and need to be stored and handled correctly to ensure efficacy and minimize the waste of vaccines.

 

Questions related to the specific COVID-19 vaccines administered need to be directed to the Department of Health given the confidential nature of health records. For the full report, visit: https://ndsao.link/HealthDepartment.
 

“We recognize that the pandemic brought on immeasurable challenges to all medical staff across the state,” said State Auditor Joshua Gallion. “Even in stressful situations it’s critical for guidelines to be followed to ensure the efficacy of vaccines. The highest standard of care is required when administering healthcare — including vaccines — to citizens.”

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