Police Nab Wisconsin Pharmacist Accused of Failing to Refrigerate 570 Covid Vaccines

Police Nab Wisconsin Pharmacist Accused of Failing to Refrigerate 570 Covid Vaccines”

On Thursday, in a video call with reporters, Jeff Bahr, the president of Aurora Health Care Medical Group, said that the pharmacist had admitted to removing the vials from refrigeration on two consecutive nights - Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - and that the hospital had administered 57 of the doses before realising how long they had been at room temperature.

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He has been arrested on charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug, and criminal damage to property.

In a written statement to Aurora Health officials, the pharmacist, whose identity was not released, admitted "to intentionally removing the vaccine knowing that if not properly stored the vaccine would be ineffective".

The hospital in Grafton, a city of almost 12,000 just north of Milwaukee, received hundreds of doses of the Moderna vaccine in mid-December. Beyond that, the drug is rendered useless.

"We are more than disappointed that this individual's actions will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine", the statement reads.

Grafton Police detectives reported 57 patients received those injections.

The hospital administered some of the doses before realising that they had been spoiled, the hospital system said.

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Police officials said the former employee is being held at the Ozaukee County Jail. The employee in question reportedly removed 57 vials - each containing ten doses - from the refrigeration unit where they were being kept and did not replace them.

"Before people return to work in January, vaccines can be distributed to 34 provinces, so that we can start a vaccination programme for health workers", health minister, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, said in a live telecast.

The hospital system, Advocate Aurora Health, has given evolving accounts of what happened since it first discovered on December 26 that the vaccines had been removed overnight from refrigeration. We also notified the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Grafton Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In light of that, Bahr said medical personnel used doses from the thawed vials to inoculate 57 people on Saturday and discarded the rest.

Bahr declined to comment on the pharmacist's motive.

"We continue to believe that vaccination is our way out of the pandemic", Aurora Health said in a statement.

Hospital officials said Wednesday the person was no longer employed there.

A little more than 47,150 people had been vaccinated in Wisconsin as of Monday morning, according to the latest data from the health agency.

Aurora said no other employees were involved and that it plans to release more information on Thursday.

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