As a shortage of the COVID vaccine plagues the U.S., one county in Tennessee has come up short by nearly 1,000 doses of the drug after an accidental mishap caused them to be thrown away.

The Knox County Health Department in Tennessee has confirmed that 975 second-doses of the Pfizer vaccine are missing. It is believed that they were mistakenly discarded as dry ice, Dr. Martha Buchanan, Knox County Health Department director, said in a press conference on Wednesday.

The shots accounted for 1.7% of all COVID vaccines distributed to Knox County, which to date has administered 56,000 doses of the drug.

Buchanan, who was tearful as she discussed the incident, said during the press conference, “It was a kick in the gut for all us. We remain very committed to integrity and transparency, which is why we're here today.”

She continued, “This is something you certainly hope never happens, and we are working with the state to determine how it did. It is an unfortunate situation, but in the meantime, our vaccination efforts continue unabated.”

Buchanan explained the mix up by saying that while the vaccine boxes did have monitors on them, no alert was received. She went on to say that the county receives alternating orders of the vaccine and dry ice, which the health department believes occurred out of order, causing the vaccine to be mistakenly identified and thrown away.

"The temperature monitor didn’t work, the tracking on the box didn’t work, and we need to know why,” she said.

According to Buchanan, the Pfizer vaccine is sent in unmarked boxes as a safety precaution, and the first dose of the shipment was received as expected, but no notification of the second dose of the vaccine was announced.

“Pfizer uses GPS-enabled thermal sensors to track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment in hopes of preventing route deviations or product loss, so it is unclear how an error like this could occur. To be clear, no misconduct is suspected,” the Knox County Health Department said via WATE, an ABC affiliate out of Knoxville.

The health department has requested an investigation by the state after it noticed the “potential discrepancy” in the notification schedule of the second vaccine doses from Pfizer.

According to Buchanan, recipients of the COVID vaccine will continue to receive their second dose of the shot without delay despite the lost doses.

This is not the first incident of the COVID vaccine going to waste. In January, over 16,000 doses of the vaccine were destroyed as part of two separate instances in Maine and Michigan due to storage and delivery temperature issues.

The U.S. has been struggling with a vaccine shortage as drugmakers rush to produce more doses, which has bottlenecked individuals that want the shot from getting it. Appointments for vaccinations have also been canceled across the country as inoculation sites scramble for doses.

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