Storage error leads to 1,000 vaccine doses being thrown away in Rutherford Co.

Vaccination event still on schedule
Moderna Vaccine
Posted at 4:19 PM, Feb 26, 2021

UPDATE: After further review by state health officials, the vaccines were deemed safe.

Rutherford County School officials announced a storage error saying 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses will have to be trashed.

The school district had the Moderna vaccines for an employee clinic Saturday, which was being held for 320 employees.

On Thursday, the district’s health services department moved all the vaccines to a freezer. The doses were moved to a refrigerator and the school officials say staff used the supplied digital data logger to monitor the temperature.

However, the digital data logger, which initially showed the temperature was correct, later gave an error code the next day.

Officials checked with the Tennessee Department of Health about the error code and informed the health services staff that they were not supposed to store any of the doses in the freezer because it was not an approved model and the temperature had not been under constant monitoring.

Even with the error, the vaccination event is still on schedule.

“We deeply regret this error and have worked throughout the day with the state and local Health Department to better understand the issue and to ensure this type of mistake is not repeated,” Director of Schools Bill Spurlock said in a press release. “We are grateful that we will still be able to offer a vaccination clinic Saturday for the employees who had signed up for an appointment.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey released the following statement in on the disposal:

“We are aware of the COVID-19 vaccine storage error reported by Rutherford County Schools this afternoon. We have a team on the way to Rutherford County now to look into this unfortunate loss of vaccine. Our Rutherford County Health Department is now partnering with Rutherford County Schools to provide resources to support the school system's planned vaccination event for school employees tomorrow. We will share additional details about this situation when they are available.”

School officials said The school district has been working with community partners to offer vaccination clinics for employees. A clinic was held at Eagleville School Friday through a donation from Twelve Stone Health Partners.

The school district has also partnered with Saint Thomas Rutherford to offer a separate vaccination clinic Saturday at the hospital for 800 school district employees.