Letter: An update for parents affected by Essentia's vaccine storage problem

A person holds a letter with the text "letter to the editor" overlaid on the image.

I wrote a letter about the Essentia vaccine storage issue that was posted to Inforum April 9. Perhaps because of that letter, or perhaps not, I was able to talk to someone Friday. I hope all the other parents waiting to talk to someone get that opportunity as soon as possible. In the meantime, here's my perspective:

My child will have to redo some, but not all, of his vaccines. That is disappointing, but I also understand that bad things happen and how people respond to it is the most important sign of their care and concern.


  • Letter: As a parent, Essentia's response to vaccine storage issue is terrifying
  • Up to 45K Essentia patients may have received vaccines, meds spoiled by improper storage

When I wrote my initial letter, I hadn’t been able to get a hold of anyone so my take was uncertainty of how they were handling this. What I now believe is that the way they are handling this is a bit like how an emergency room runs.
I worked at the intake desk of an emergency room for many years in college. The priority in an emergency room is to meet the needs of the patient and messaging or answering questions is important, but it's not always possible to be the first priority.

A thing I learned from that is that the nurses and doctors were always putting their patients' needs first and this sometimes looked like a lack of care or concern to family members or people with lower needs in the waiting room, even though that was never the case. I believe that it similar to what is happening with this issue at Essentia and I just want other parents to feel reassured about that, as well.


It was a relief to find out my son will not have to redo all his vaccines, to find out which ones he needs redone, to learn that we should be able to go in to get his vaccines within the next few days, and to know they have been working around the clock to set up a completely separate clinic for patients affected by this issue. This is so there won’t be any confusion about payment, as all redone vaccines are free of charge (as they should be).

I hesitated about writing this letter because I don’t want to make it seem like a commercial for Essentia or letting them completely off the hook. That’s not my intention. I just want to highlight that contrary to my first letter I do think they are doing everything they can to resolve this problem as quickly as possible. Their communication maybe could have been better, but I also understand that sometimes, when you are expending the majority of your time and energy doing all the right things behind the scenes, this can be the case.

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