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Nearly 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines spoiled after Boston VA cleaner accidentally unplugs freezer

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Nearly 2000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine were spoiled at a Boston-area VA facility after a cleaning contractor accidentally loosened a plug for a freezer, according to a report.

The shots were discovered by staff at the VA Boston Pharmacy on Tuesday. At least 1,900 doses were compromised, Kyle Toto, a spokesman for the VA Boston Healthcare System, told the Boston Globe.

“The plug was found loose after a contractor accidentally removed it while cleaning,” Toto said.

He added that he does not think the spoiled doses will affect the vaccine rollout, and told the newspaper that replacement doses were already being delivered.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccines — as well as doses developed by rival Pfizer-BioNTech — must be stored at very low temperatures, between negative 13 and negative 5 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to maintain this temperature, storage facilities at the Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center were equipped with alarms intended to trigger if the doses get too warm or too cold, though they did not sound when the freezer was unplugged.

Toto said he wasn’t sure why the alarm did not go off.

“An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident and why the monitoring and alarm system did not work as expected,” he said.

Massachusetts has recorded a total of 462,910 coronavirus cases and 13,622 deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic last year, according to the state Department of Public Health.

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