Several shipments of the Moderna vaccine have exceeded the temperature required to keep the doses safe, according to Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In his Tuesday, Jan. 19, press briefing, Shah said 50 shipments, or 4,400 doses, were affected.

Recipient sites contacted Maine CDC yesterday morning, indicating the electronic device equipped with each shipment that monitors the internal temperature showed that at some point in shipment the temperature had exceeded requirements.

Shah said his office then reached out to all recipient sites in the state and ascertained that 50 shipments were involved.

The doses are sent by the manufacturer to distribution points through couriers, he said. The vaccine is then delivered to the addresses of vaccination sites.

"At some point in their journey," Shah said, "the vaccines had been stored at a temperature higher than required."

The Maine CDC notified the federal CDC and Operation Warp Speed personnel, who said the recipient sites would be receiving replacement doses today or tomorrow. An investigation is underway to determine why this happened, Shah said, and see if the doses are still viable.

"Maine is not the only state where this has occurred," he said.

In other news, Shah said Maine CDC received reports today of five more COVID-19 deaths. This is on top of three reported deaths yesterday. One person was from Hancock County, two from Cumberland County, four from Penobscot County, one from York County and one from Hancock County.

Four of the people who died were men, and four were women. One was in their 50s; one was in their 60s, three were in there 70s; and three were 80 or older.

Cumulatively there have been 519 deaths across the state since the pandemic began, and since yesterday there are 386 new COVID-19 cases across the state.

There are now 191 people in the hospital, down from 193 last Friday. Sixty-eight people are in intensive care units out of a total of 393 available, and 27 are on ventilators.

As of today Shah said, 81,355 people have received vaccinations, an increase of more than 11,000 doses since Friday; with 68,914 people having received their first dose and 12,441 having received their second dose.

Shah answered several questions dealing with long waits on the phone to schedule shots for seniors who are 70 years and older. To this he said to be patient and keep calling, and perhaps try at off-peak times. Many people, he said, would be contacted by their health care provider.

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