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Rural community receives bad batch of vaccines

A clinic in Presidio opened its shipment of 100 Moderna vaccines to find that it was too high for the vaccines to be viable.
Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 8:49 PM CST
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PRESIDIO, Texas (KOSA) - As Midland and Odessa are prepared to distribute mass COVID-19 vaccinations, one rural west Texas community faces a significant problem that has delayed the vaccination process.

Because the COVID-19 vaccine has to be kept between a temperature of 36 and 46 degrees before it is administered, there is little room for error.

A clinic in Presidio opened its shipment of 100 Moderna vaccines to find that it was too high for the vaccines to be viable.

Rural communities are at a disadvantage when it comes to COVID-19 healthcare.

The Presidio town has one clinic that distributes vaccines, and any interruption to that process can be detrimental.

“It was a gut punch. We immediately got on the phone and called the Texas Department of State Health Services to find out if we could use these doses even though they were out of range. They very quickly told us that no, we could not use those vaccine doses because they didn’t know if they would be effective,” said chief medical officer Dr. Adrian Billings.

Smaller medical operations are especially at the mercy of the state and vaccine manufacturers regarding vaccine delivery.

“Unfortunately, that’s out of our hands. We take possession of it when it arrives via FedEx or UPS. It’s all up to the packaging that happens at the manufacturer. There’s really nothing clinics and organizations can do. We’re dependent upon the supply chain,” said Dr. Billings.

Dr. Billings says that rural areas often get overlooked, which forces people to travel hours for proper healthcare.

“In Presidio, we’re it. If it’s not us, it’s no one else. This is certainly a priority for us because we need to get vaccines in arms so that we can lower the confirmed cases so that we can lower the case fatality rate, and we can bend the curve and save lives,” said Dr. Billings.

The Texas Department of Health Services was able to send a replacement shipment after the original vaccines were spoiled.

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