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Several hundred doses of Moderna vaccine may have spoiled at Vermont hospital

Springfield Hospital said there was a "discrepancy in the monitoring equipment used to record the temperature" of the 860 doses.

Several hundred doses of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine may have spoiled at a Springfield, Vermont, hospital after being stored at the wrong temperature.

The doses were distributed to Springfield Hospital. The state health department said on Wednesday that it was monitoring the situation and was looking into whether the doses were still viable.

"They have not been discarded as yet," the agency said in a statement. "At this time, we’re still seeking final guidance from the manufacturer on the potential loss of doses due to a temperature excursion."

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Department spokesman Ben Truman told NBC News on Thursday that officials were still in talks with Moderna about how to handle the situation.

During a press conference on Wednesday, an official with the Agency of Human Services said 860 vaccines were stored at 9 degrees Celsius. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they should be stored in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.

“This is unfortunate because we’ve had minimal, minimal wasted doses in this state,” the agency's Secretary, Mike Smith, said at the press conference.

According to Smith, 400 of the doses were for "second dose clinics."

State health officials said the incident will not impact people under the Phase 2 category who already had appointments scheduled for this week or the availability of second doses for those who have already received the first shot.

"And to be clear, we will not administer vaccine from any doses we are not 100 percent confident can be used, and no vaccine from the doses in question were given out," the department said.

Springfield Hospital said it canceled a Covid-19 vaccination clinic on Wednesday.

"This step was taken out of an abundance of caution when a discrepancy in the monitoring equipment used to record the temperature of the vaccine was discovered. Two hospital monitors recorded the temperature within an acceptable range, and the State of Vermont monitor recorded .1 degree above the range," a hospital statement said.

"Upon discovery of this discrepancy, and in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health, we mutually agreed it was in the best interest of all to err on the side of caution, putting patient safety first, and cancel the scheduled clinic while further investigation takes place."

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A hospital spokesperson said Thursday that they are awaiting guidance from the health department. The doses are being held in refrigeration pending further investigation, the spokesperson said.

This is not the first time an incident like this has occurred. Last week, a Massachusetts Veterans Affairs hospital reported nearly 2,000 Moderna vaccines were spoiled after a cleaning contractor accidentally unplugged a refrigerator.

And in December, Wisconsin hospital worker Steven Brandenburg was fired and arrested after the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton said he intentionally removed more than 500 vaccine doses from refrigeration.

Brandenburg, who worked as a pharmacist, agreed to plead guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard, the U.S. Department of Justice said.