Some 500 doses of the covid vaccine have been destroyed after a Wisconsin hospital employee intentionally removed them from refrigeration.
According to NBC News, the incident occurred at Aurora Medical Center, a hospital just outside of Milwaukee, where hospital staff initially mistook it for an accident, believing that the 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine that spoiled had been left out overnight inadvertently. But during a subsequent investigation, a pharmacist who worked for the hospital admitted to removing the vials on purpose.
“We continue to believe that vaccination is our way out of the pandemic. We are more than disappointed,” hospital officials said in a statement. “This was a violation of our core values.”
The pharmacist has since been fired and arrested on “suspicion of recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property,” NBC reports. Police told the outlet that the pharmacist—whose identity has not been disclosed—caused as much as $11,000 worth of damage.
Hospital officials were able to recover some of the vials that had been left out, but most had to be thrown away since, as we’ve established on this site, the vaccine needs to be cold as balls to maintain its integrity. The Moderna vaccine specifically can only be administered within 12 hours of thawing.
The hospital also had to notify 50 people that they had received an ineffective version of the vaccine, after learning that the doses they administered to them had been thawed twice. There are no health risks associated with receiving an ineffective dose of the vaccine, but nonetheless the very idea is alarming as is every other aspect of this story.
No potential motive has been reported yet, and it’s difficult to imagine what would drive someone to deliberately destroy doses of the vaccine, except I guess wrongly believing that it’s actively harmful, which of course some people do.
The distribution of the vaccine isn’t going so well even absent these sorts of disruptions and thousands of people are dying from the virus every day, so needless to say it’s an asshole move!