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Pharmacist who damaged 500 doses of vaccine arrested in Wisconsin

The FBI, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and local Grafton Police are investigating the case, and have not yet clarified what prompted the pharmacist to thaw so many doses of the vaccine.

By:
EFE

The Grafton Police (Wisconsin, USA) arrested a pharmacist on Thursday 31-D who “intentionally” thawed more than 500 doses of the covid-19 vaccine, knowing that they would spoil, local media reported this Friday.

The pharmacist, who worked in a hospital, took out the refrigeration doses last week and the health center administered some of them before realizing they had gone bad, according to the hospital group, Advocate Aurora Health.

The detainee admitted this week that he had intentionally removed from the refrigerator those doses of the vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Moderna, which recommends keeping its vials at a temperature of -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the local Grafton Police are investigating the case, and have not yet clarified what motivated the pharmacist to thaw so many dose of the vaccine.

The pharmacist faces possible jail time charges, such as endangering the safety of others in the first degree, tampering with a prescription drug, and causing criminal damage to property.

The former hospital employee removed the vials from the refrigerator for two consecutive nights, those of December 24 and 25, and it was on Saturday 26 that the hospital realized that they had been at room temperature and discarded them, according to the president of the medical group Aurora, Jeff Bahr.

Hospital employees administered 57 of those doses before realizing the problem, and have notified patients who received them that the vaccines they were given are not harmful, but may be “less effective or not effective,” he said. Bahr at a press conference.

Bahr did not clarify whether those 57 people – who according to local media are probably medical workers from the hospital itself – will receive new doses of the vaccine, and stressed that they had fired the pharmacist.

The event comes at a time when public health experts are very concerned about the slow implementation of the vaccination campaign in the US, which began on December 14.

As of Wednesday, fewer than 2.8 million people had received the first dose of the vaccine, just 14% of the 20 million Americans the government planned to immunize before the end of December.

The health authorities have recognized that this balance is “disappointing”, and some experts warn that, as the vaccines should only be stored for 30 days in the portable freezers in which they are distributed, thousands of vials may expire at the end of January. .

“Have we come this far to let our vaccines spoil in our freezers?” The New York Times newspaper asked this Friday in an editorial, in which it called an “extraordinary failure” the possibility that these vials expire before being administered.

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