CLEVELAND — Some residents at five long-term care facilities in Northeast Ohio will have to be revaccinated after it was determined that some doses of COVID vaccine may not have been stored at proper cold storage conditions, Governor Mike DeWine said Tuesday.
According to DeWine, the five facilities affected are:
- Residential Services Corp "The Maples" in Kingsville, Ashtabula Co.
- Ashtabula Towers in Ashtabula.
- Heather Hill Care Communities in Chardon.
- Six Chimneys in Cleveland.
- Willow Park Convalescent Home in Cleveland.
Those who received the affected vaccines are not in danger of any known harm, said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the Ohio Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Robyn Strosaker, the C.O.O. of University Hospitals echoed his finding.
"It's absorbed like any other vaccine and the risk is that you just don't mount that immune response that would then make you immune to it if you are exposed," she said. "Really, the right thing to do is then give one more dose to make sure we get that 90 plus percent effectiveness of the vaccine."
Those affected will have to be revaccinated at a later date after a waiting period.
The vaccines were administered by Walgreens, which identified the affected vaccines through their quality control processes, then contacted the CDC and the manufacturer regarding appropriate next steps. The company is now reaching out to the medical directors at the affected nursing homes to determine which patients may need to be revaccinated.
"My understanding is they have very, very strict rules," DeWine said about Walgreens' vaccine distribution process. "And if you go out of compliance, they treat it as if it does not work...Once you’re out of compliance the assumption is it does not work, and they have to act based upon the fact."
Not everyone at these nursing homes will need to be revaccinated, DeWine said. Only some of the vaccines administered at these locations were from a batch for which the cold storage chain was not maintained, Vanderhoff said.
Walgreens representatives assured the state government that they know who received vaccines from which batch and they will drill down to figure out exactly which individuals were affected.
DeWine said that to date, first does have been administered at 86% of Ohio’s long-term care facilities and nursing homes, and second doses administered at 48% of them.
“As we know, however, in any large-scale vaccination program depending on people sometimes there is human error,” DeWine said.
Walgreens provided this statement on the vaccination issues:
"After completing vaccinations on February 1 at five long-term care facilities in Ohio and following our internal controls processes, we discovered the vials containing the vaccine were subject to improper storage before being delivered to these facilities. There is no reason to believe any patients who received these doses will suffer any harm. Walgreens has been in contact with the manufacturer and while the viability and potential impact on the effectiveness of vaccines that have been improperly stored remains unknown, revaccination is recommended. We will work with the facilities to revaccinate patients who inadvertently received doses from these vaccines to ensure full protection from vaccination in accordance with CDC guidance. Walgreens is investigating and has taken additional immediate steps to review and correct our operating procedures to prevent this from occurring again."