SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Hospital has not received a final decision on whether to destroy the 860 vaccines that may have been damaged due to slightly higher temperatures in storage.
Hospital spokeswoman Anna Smith said Thursday that the hospital believed that the one degree Celsius difference was within the guidelines set by federal health officials, and she said the calibration of the temperature gauges may also play a factor.
“The temperature monitor probe sits in a bottle in the refrigerator that is connected to an external sensor that gives a readout and keeps a data log. That connects to an alert system,” she said.
On Wednesday, Michael Smith, the secretary of the Agency of Human Services, said that Moderna, the maker of the vaccine in question, had ordered the vaccine “wasted.” He said the vaccine had to be held at a temperature no higher than 8 degree Celsius, but the Springfield temperature monitors reported 9 degrees Celsius.
Smith, during a mid-day press conference Wednesday, said the matter was under review. Ben Truman, a spokesman for the Vermont Department of Health, said Thursday morning that the matter was still under review.
The 860 doses represent about one percent of all the vaccines the state has received so far. The state is receiving about 8,800 doses a week, although Gov. Phil Scott said the Biden administration had promised the nation’s governors an increase of 16 percent next week.
Smith said the 240 Vermonters whose appointments were canceled Wednesday because of the temperature issue will be rescheduled. She said Springfield Hospital will be holding a vaccination clinic on Friday for 120 people, as scheduled.
The Moderna vaccine in question is not being used until a decision has been made by the state, in consultation with Moderna, about its future use, she said.
Springfield has three different vaccination clinic locations: Springfield Hospital, Springfield High School and Springfield Adult Day Services on River Street. The hospital is only handling the vaccine for its clinic, Smith said.