Coronavirus Covid 19: hospital worker arrested for spoiled vaccine doses


Moderna jab mRNA-1273 is a “messenger RNA” vaccine that works by instructing cells in the body to build the coronavirus “spike protein”. Video / AP

AU authorities on Thursday arrested a pharmacist in suburban Milwaukee on suspicion of deliberately ruining hundreds of doses of the coronavirus vaccine by removing them from the refrigerator for two nights.

The arrest marks another setback in what was a slower and more complicated start to vaccinating Americans than public health officials anticipated. Leaders in Wisconsin and other states have pleaded with the Trump administration for more doses as healthcare workers and seniors line up for the life-saving vaccine.

Police in Grafton, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee, said the pharmacist for Advocate Aurora Health was arrested on suspicion of reckless endangerment, tampering with a prescription drug and criminal damage to the family. property, all crimes. The pharmacist was fired and police said in a press release that he was in jail. Police did not identify the pharmacist, saying he had not yet been formally charged.

His mobile remains unclear. Police said detectives believed he knew the spoiled doses would be useless and people who received them would mistakenly think they had been vaccinated when they had not.

Aurora Health Care lawyer medical group chief Jeff Bahr told reporters on a Thursday afternoon teleconference that the pharmacist had deliberately removed 57 vials containing hundreds of doses of the Moderna vaccine from the refrigeration in a Grafton Medical Center overnight December 24-25. sent them back, then left them again on the night of December 25 to Saturday. The vials contained enough doses to inoculate 570 people.

A pharmacy technician discovered the vials outside the refrigerator on Saturday morning. Bahr said the pharmacist first said he removed the vials to access other items from the refrigerator and inadvertently failed to put them back.

Moderna vaccine is viable for 12 hours outside of refrigeration, so workers used the vaccine to inoculate 57 people before throwing the rest away. Police said the rejected doses were worth between US $ 8,000 and US $ 11,000.

Bahr said health system officials were more wary of the pharmacist when reviewing the incident. After multiple interviews, the pharmacist admitted on Wednesday that he had withdrawn the vaccine intentionally over the two nights, Bahr said.

This means the doses people received on Saturday are practically unnecessary, he said. Moderna told Aurora there was no safety issue, but the hospital system is closely monitoring people who received the spoiled doses, he said.

Bahr declined to comment on the pharmacist’s motives. He said the hospital system’s security protocols were strong.

“It was a situation involving a bad actor,” he said, “as opposed to a bad process.”