FORT MEADE, Md. (WJZ) -- Hundreds of people, including members of the military, now need to get a third dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine after officials found 800 vials were stored outside the recommended temperature for two days this month.
Col. Tracy Michael, the Fort Meade/Kimbrough commander, said Thursday the vaccines were compromised and inadvertently administered.
"Instead of going from the freezer to the refrigerator to store, it went from the freezer to room temperature and it remained at that state beyond the 24 hours which called into question the efficacy of the vaccine," he said.
The department at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center administered the bad batch at McGill Training Center on April 7 and 12, Michael said.
Two people handled the vials at the storage facility, not the vaccination site, he said. Staff members only discovered the compromised vials when they were moving things around.
"The vaccine cannot provide the full protection it was intended to," Michael said.
His team now is scrambling to reschedule people to get a third shot.
But doctors said if you got one of the bad doses not to panic because there are no known risks of getting an ineffective vaccine.
Dr. Bill Moss of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health said this is an unfortunate event, but it shouldn't deter anyone from getting vaccinated.
"The downside is the vaccine may have degraded and thus not been effective, not providing and protecting immunity," he said of the compromised doses. "It's very important people get this vaccine. It's one of our best tools in the toolbox to prevent hospitalizations and really get on top of this pandemic."
Fort Meade has made some changes as a result of the incident, including adding another person to help handle the vaccines and giving more training on how to store the vaccines properly, Michael said.
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