New Mexico Reorders Vaccines, Assures Safe Supply For Children

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New Mexico Department of Health is reordering children's vaccine that was lost due to a malfunction in one of the Department's refrigerators during the July 4 holiday.

The Department expects to receive replacement vaccine by the end of the week and will ship to medical providers as soon as possible.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is covering the cost of at least $4 million worth of vaccine that it provides to the Department of Health through the Vaccines for Children Program.

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The Department of Health stores vaccines in three refrigerators in its pharmacy in Santa Fe. One of the refrigerators recorded a temperature below the acceptable temperature range for vaccine storage. The refrigerator contained about $4.3 million worth of various childhood vaccinations, including immunizations that protect against such diseases as hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, pertussis, polio and tetanus.

"We don't know whether the vaccines were compromised, but we are replacing everything to ensure our children receive safe immunizations," said Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil. "We are working diligently to protect our vaccine supply and improve our procedures for storing vaccine."

To ensure proper vaccine storage, the Department is updating its refrigerator alarm system so staff is notified if temperatures change. The Department is also reviewing and updating vaccine storage protocols, assessing the condition of all of its refrigerators and determining the best equipment for monitoring temperature fluctuations.

By the fall, the Department plans to set up a system in which CDC can ship vaccines directly to medical providers throughout New Mexico.

The federally funded Vaccines for Children program supplies vaccines to about 70 percent of children in New Mexico, including Native Americans and those eligible based on income and insurance criteria. The Department covers the rest of the children in the state to make sure all New Mexican children can get free immunizations.

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