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Health & Science

Vaccine Vendor Cut Off After Hundreds of Doses Expire

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Specialty Rx, a provider of vaccines in Columbus, is no longer receiving shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine from the Ohio Department of Health after the ODH alleges the provider let almost 1,000 shots go to waste.

An investigation is under way after a vaccine provider in Columbus allowed nearly 900 COVID-19 shots to expire. The state says the provider didn't monitor the temperature of the vials.

The Ohio Department of Health says Specialty Rx was in charge of 1,500 vaccinations to immunize residents at eight long-term care facilities in Columbus. 

ODH says providers are required to track the temperatures of the vaccine while in cold storage. After further inspection the department learned that 890 doses were spoiled. 

"That infuriated me," Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said during his Thursday briefing. "Never should have happened."

DeWine says this was a nursing home system that decided not to go with the federal long-term care vaccine program and opted for Specialty Rx instead.

Steve Wagner with the Universal Health Care Action Network Ohio says the department of health must make sure every other provider doesn't make the same mistake. 

"But I think the positive piece is that nobody's using vaccine that isn't safe and effective so those doses got wasted because it was uncertain whether those temperature controls had been in place," Wagner said. 

Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) says this highlights a lack of state oversight and efficiency.

"There are clearly bottlenecks in ODH’s process when we have providers who need to store vaccine supplies for longer than a few days, while statewide, the speed of vaccine administration using our existing supply is still far behind neighboring states," Russo said in a written statement.

ODH is no longer sending vaccine to Specialty Rx, and the state pharmacy board is carrying out a larger investigation. 
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.