A vial of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Vaccine Watch

Officials hope for resolution ‘soon’ on Moderna batch linked to possible allergic reactions

After pausing use of a specific lot of Moderna coronavirus vaccine following reports of a “higher-than-usual” number of possible allergic reactions at a site in San Diego, state health officials said Tuesday they’re working to figure out what to do with the rest of the vaccine from that batch.

“We believe that we will come to some resolution soon,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. “Our Scientific Safety Review Committee is in fact meeting today to discuss it, synthesize the information that we’ve received in conversations with the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and (Food and Drug Administration) and make a determination.”

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Fewer than 10 individuals who received vaccines from the batch, known as lot 41L20A, at a community vaccination clinic required medical attention, state health officials have said.

About 5,300 doses of Santa Cruz County’s vaccine inventory — or more than 60% of the remaining 8,210 Moderna doses that were to be distributed — are from lot 41L20A and will remain in storage for now. None of those doses had yet been distributed in Santa Cruz County, a county spokesman has told Lookout.

The vaccine maker said Tuesday afternoon it was cooperating fully in the investigation. “Moderna is unaware of comparable clusters of adverse events from other vaccination centers which may have administered vaccines from the same lot, or from other Moderna lots,” company officials said in a statement.

Moderna confirmed that a total of nearly 1.3 million doses were produced in batch number 041L20A, with nearly a million doses (964,900) already distributed to approximately 1,700 vaccination sites in 37 states. In California, about 330,000 doses of the lot were distributed to about 287 providers, including large health systems that serve Santa Cruz County patients.

A Sutter Health/PAMF spokesperson told Lookout in a statement Tuesday that none of its employees or patients were given vaccine from that batch. “As soon as we were made aware of the Moderna lot issue early Friday morning, we pulled it from our supply,” she wrote.

Both Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health told Lookout on Monday that they had administered doses from that specific lot, but added that they didn’t record any significant or severe adverse reactions in patients who had received it. Both health systems also paused the rollout in accordance with state recommendations.

Ghaly said state officials want to be able to move forward with the vaccination supply from lot 41L20A, “if we can, as soon as we can.

“We will keep you all posted,” he added.

Ghaly said some already received the vaccine from lot 41L20A — on the same day the group of individuals who had reactions — and did not have “any trouble” or reaction. “We’ve obviously been in follow up with many of those individuals to ensure that everything has gone smoothly as expected.”