The United States Department of Health and Human Services has told Timcast that all 1.2 million Moderna vaccines that were in a truck that crashed in West Virginia are accounted for and were not scattered from the truck.
The vaccines were being transported to Dulles Airport to be sent to Ghana.
A spokesperson for the West Virginia Center for Threat Preparedness, who was in charge of trying to recover the vaccines following the crash, told Timcast earlier in the day that they are no longer permitted to speak to the press about the incident because any investigation and press inquiries are to be handled by the Department of Defense. “The department took over,” they said.
Instead, the WV CTP referred us to the National COVID Response Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Countermeasures Acceleration Group (formerly known as Operation Warp Speed) is run, in part out of DOD in cooperation with HHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“A truck carrying 1.2 million doses of Moderna vaccine destined for Ghana had an accident on the way to Dulles airport. We understand the driver was taken to hospital but has since been discharged,” the HHS spokesperson said. “COVAX and its partner agencies wish the driver a full and speedy recovery and are working closely with the US Government to ensure disruptions to shipments of life-saving vaccines are as minimal as possible.”
Air traffic was shut down while Hazmat cleaning crews spent 21 hours in the crash area near Morgantown. The northbound side of the interstate was also closed for all traffic.
The truck had collided with a cement barrier and crashed near a waterway.
“A tractor trailer, carrying Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to be sent as aid to a foreign country, lost control on the interstate, struck a concrete barrier and went down over the embankment approximately 30 feet and rolled on its side,” Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “The driver was trapped inside of the vehicle and had to be extricated. He was transported and treated for minor injuries at Ruby Memorial Hospital.”
The statement went on to say that a hazmat team was brought in to clear “oil and anti-freeze” for 21 hours.
The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office, Monongalia Hazmat Team, and Governor Jim Justice’s office all refused to answer questions from Timcast about the crash.
Witnesses said that there were an intense amount of cleanup crews and first responders at the scene.
“Still backed up, drove by an hour ago, looks like a small village has been set up … mobile labs, pop-up tents, lights, sat phone antennas, Fayette Co Command Center, Mon Co Command Ctr and more,” Brenda Landis-Haas of Morgantown wrote on the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
Timcast will continue providing updates if more information becomes available.