• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Storm causes $10,000 in vaccine losses

$10,000 WORTH OF vaccines at the Woodford County Health Department were lost due to the July 20 storm that knocked out power to most of the county for days. Nearly all of the medicine that had to be thrown out were childhood vaccines paid for by the federal government, but about $600 worth of department-purchased Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines were thrown out as well. (Photo by John McGary)

The July 20 storm that left thousands without power for days led to approximately $10,000 worth of vaccines belonging to the Woodford County Health Department being thrown out.

Public Health Director Cassie Prather said the day the storms rolled through, the Health Department closed at noon, as it always does on Friday. While employees are not required to move vaccines after working hours, she and two nurses came back after the storm, realized the generator wasn’t working, and moved the vaccines to Bluegrass Community Hospital.

“When we transported to the hospital, we left the vaccines there and there was a temperature excursion,” she said.

Ironically, data loggers showing a temperature of two-tenths of a degree too cold forced them to throw the vaccines out, almost all of which were federally-funded and for children. Edie Flora, the department’s nurse supervisor, said about $600 worth of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines that were thrown out had been purchased with department funds.

“We had some that were frozen; we were able to keep that, and again, some of our vaccines did stay within the parameters that the manufacturer set,” Prather said.

The department’s power was restored on Sunday, July 22, around 10 a.m.

Prather said they had to turn away a few parents on Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday, were again able to provide vaccinations for children who return to school next week. She’s also asked Kentucky Utilities to put her department on their priority list for power restoration during outages.

“We do want to thank the hospital for trying to accommodate us and being our back-up for vaccine storage. We appreciate them as a partner to keep the community healthy,” Prather said. “We just appreciate everybody’s patience as we restocked our vaccines and we apologize for any inconvenience that might have caused.”

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