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Public Health audit shows strength of pandemic response, vaccine distribution; identifies opportunities to improve documentation
BISMARCK, N.D. – Today, the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health Division responded to the final report of an audit of the Department of Health conducted by the Office of the State Auditor that covered the biennium ending June 2021.
“The auditor’s office spent over one year completing their inquiry. During this time, they reviewed testing of compliance and financial records, contact tracing, COVID-19 deaths, COVID-19 vaccine storage, handling and distribution, COVID-19 testing and reporting, and COVID-19 dashboards and information systems and had no findings for these areas,” said HHS Public Health Division Executive Director Dirk Wilke.
Four issues identified by the auditor were around improvement in inventory records and staff training for documentation of activities.
“The standards of practice in use for vaccine storage and handling exceed the requirements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for vaccine storage and handling,” said Wilke. “The opportunities for improvement focused on improving documentation of these practices.”
“The important takeaway for the public is that the North Dakota Department of Health did not distribute non-viable vaccines,” said Tim Wiedrich, HHS health response and licensure section director. “Redundant systems, including temperature monitoring systems, were in place for real-time monitoring to ensure there was no risk to the public.”
“The department of health utilized alarm systems, going beyond CDC requirements, to identify anytime vaccine was potentially out of temperature range. Any vaccine reported to be out of range was quarantined and not used until the manufacturer reviewed the situation and determined viability. The public was protected through these processes,” said Wiedrich. “Our team has implemented training to ensure documentation reflects the practices that are in place to safeguard the public.”
“Thank you to the auditor’s office for completing a comprehensive audit. We are pleased to have confirmation of the quality of the pandemic response by the public health team,” said Wilke. “Efforts are already underway to implement technology and training that will strengthen the documentation of future response efforts.”
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