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Sweden gives 1,000 people COVID-19 shots kept at too low temperature

A person waring a protective mask collects coronavirus self tests from people in cars at a testing site in the car park of Svagertorp railway station, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Malmo, Sweden, November 27, 2020. TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Around 1,000 people in Sweden have been given doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine that were kept at the wrong temperature during transportation, the pharmacy company delivering the shots said on Friday.

In total 2,100 vaccine doses - around 20% of what Sweden has so far received from Moderna - were kept at too low a temperature, and the shots not yet administered have been set aside pending clarity on whether they will have been spoiled as a result, Apoteket said.

All of the people given doses from the faulty delivery are healthcare professionals, it said.

“According to the Swedish health authority’s preliminary assessment, there is no indication that the doses transported in too low a temperature entail any health risk,” Apoteket said in an emailed statement.

However, Sweden’s health authority and pharmaceutical watchdog are investigating the matter further, Magnus Frisk, a spokesman for Apoteket said, adding: “One other thing we need to know is whether the vaccine doses already given will work.”

Frisk said the agencies had contacted Moderna for further information about the effect of doses being kept at too low a temperature and whether the people given those doses needed another shot of the vaccine.

The affected doses which have not been administered are accounted for and will not be used, he said.

As of Jan. 17, Sweden had vaccinated 146,000 people, most of whom were given the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.

Reporting by Colm Fulton, editing by Anna Ringstrom and Hugh Lawson

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