State officials commenting on loss of 1800 H1N1 vaccines - KMOV.com

State officials commenting on loss of 1800 H1N1 vaccines

KMOV - State officials are commenting on Rockwood School districting ruining 1800 doses of the H1N1 vaccine.

Like any vaccine, H1N1 vaccines are closely monitored from the time they leave the laboratory. When 1831 doses were ruined due to a malfunction in a Rockwood district refrigerator - state officials were obviously concerned.

"It's a significant amount of vaccine, and it's unfortunate to lose it, but we are getting past the shortage stage," said Kit Wagar, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Health.

Somehow, the thermostat on the refrigerator either malfunctioned, or the unit was briefly unplugged. Whatever the cause, it takes only a slight variation in temperature to destroy H1N1 vaccines.

The doses have to be kept within 36 to 45 degress at all times, so they have to be kept in a fridge in a way where the doses do not touch the bottom or the sides. If they do, the doses could freeze, which would destroy the vaccine's potency.

Wagar confirms it's the first major loss of H1N1 vaccine in Missouri. The Center for Disease Control put's the cost for flu mist at $15 a vial, which makes the incident a $27,000 loss for taxpayers.

If there's any good news out of this - it looks like the shortage of vaccine may be easing up:

Missouri has received 700,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine, which mean this loss is relatively small. However, St. Louis County officials estimate 200,000 doses are still needed to treat those most at risk.

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