Gov. Mike DeWine ‘infuriated’ over vaccine wasted by SpecialtyRx

Local News

FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2021, file photo, vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are placed next to a loaded syringe in Throop, Pa. On Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, California’s state epidemiologist Dr. Erica S. Pan recommended providers stop using lot 41L20A of the Moderna vaccine pending completion of an investigation by state officials, Moderna, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the federal Food and Drug Administration, because some people received medical treatment for possible severe allergic reactions. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP, File)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine said he was “infuriated” to hear that a Columbus provider mishandled nearly 900 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, causing them to go to waste.

SpecialtyRx received 1,500 doses of Moderna vaccine from the Ohio Department of Health in December for use at eight long-term care facilities. After administering the first dose, the provider was exploring a transfer of the remaining 890 doses to another provider when it discovered that it had not properly monitored the temperatures of the refrigerator and freezer where they had been stored.

“That infuriated me. It never should have happened,” DeWine said Thursday. “We referred them to the pharmacy board. We are not going to ship them any additional doses.

“Every group we work with has experience. We explained to them, they understand the protocol, we go through the protocol with them and we believe that they’re used to using that.”

SpecialtyRx was suspended Wednesday from vaccine work by the Department of Health. The company has yet to respond to a request for comment from NBC4.

DeWine said most of the nursing homes in the state used a national program that has gone “exceedingly well,” but a few contracted with alternate providers such as SpecialtyRx.

“They made that decision to do that, and tragically, we saw this huge waste,” DeWine said. “These [vaccines] are precious, limited in supply. Each one has the capability of saving someone’s life.”

The Department of Health said that the long-term care facilities that used SpecialtyRx will have to turn to another source for its second dose of the vaccine, most likely a local health department.

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