Bend VA clinic scrambles after vaccine fridge malfunctions

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The Robert Maxwell VA Clinic in Bend scrambled to give out 170 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday after an alarm alerted staff of a temperature problem with the clinic’s specialized refrigeration system.

Daniel E. Herrigstad, a spokesman with the VA Portland Health Care System, said they reviewed the guidance from Moderna and learned the doses could be refrigerated and utilized as previously planned.

“However, the clinic had activated its contingency plans to ensure no doses go to waste and that all storage parameters for the Moderna vaccine were adhered to,” he said. “VA staff adjusted previously scheduled vaccination appointments and contacted and scheduled other Veterans accordingly to use as many doses of the vaccine to honor the scheduling and communication sent to Veterans.”

According to one vet Central Oregon Daily News spoke with, veterans who heard about the issue and about 70 were able to walk in and receive first-dose shots.

Walk-ins were cut off around 12:30 after all the doses were assigned.

Officials said they later learned that the Moderna vaccine can stay at room temperature for up to 10 hours before going bad.

They were able to get the doses refrigerated much sooner, but officials said the situation provided an opportunity to test the emergency plans.

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