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Nearly 600 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines thrown out in Douglas County

Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 21:09:59-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Almost 600 doses of COVID-19 vaccine went to waste in Douglas County, Kansas, due to a transfer error, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health said Thursday.

The health department received and transferred 570 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in a refrigerated state to LMH Health on Wednesday afternoon.

Vaccines are usually still frozen when they are transferred in such a manner, a health department spokesperson said.

Without realizing the doses had been thawed before being transferred in this instance, LMH Health followed its typical procedure and placed the doses in a freezer. The hospital reached out to Johnson & Johnson after realizing the error, which said the doses would have to be discarded.

LMH Health President and CEO Russ Johnson said the hospital is reviewing its processes in hopes of preventing further errors.

“Although this is a small percentage of the overall vaccines that the county has received, we know it is not insignificant — this is a heart wrenching situation for our hospital, our Phase 2 community members and our Unified Command partners,” Johnson said.

State and local health department are helping Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health coordinate replacement doses.

Both the health department and LMH Health are working to reschedule vaccine appointments, which will likely happen at a joint clinic at the Douglas County fairgrounds.