Wisconsin hospital worker arrested for spoiled vaccine doses – world news

Authorities arrested a pharmacist in a suburb of Milwaukee, suspected of deliberately destroying hundreds of coronavirus vaccines from refrigerated storage for two days.

This arrest represents another setback in starting American vaccinations slower and messier than public health officials expected. Wisconsin and other state leaders are begging the Trump administration for higher doses as health workers and seniors line up for life-saving vaccines.

Police in Grafton, about 32 kilometers north of Milwaukee, say a pharmacist, a Aurora health spokesman, was in ruthless danger to commit adultery, criminal damage to property, and arrest for all felony charges. The pharmacist was fired and the police said in a press release that he was in jail. The police have not identified the pharmacist, saying that he has not yet been formally prosecuted.

His motive is unclear. Police say investigators know that spoiled doses are useless, and that those who receive them believe they will erroneously believe they were vaccinated when they were not vaccinated.

Aurora Health Care Chief Medical Group Officer Jeff Bahr told reporters during a teleconference Thursday afternoon that the pharmacist refrigerated 57 vials containing hundreds of doses of Moderna vaccine at the Grafton Medical Center overnight from December 24th to December 25th. Said to Returned and then left again on Saturday night, December 25th. The vial contained enough dose to inoculate 570 people.

A pharmacy technician found a vial outside the refrigerator on Saturday morning. Bahr said the pharmacist had initially removed the vial to gain access to other items in the refrigerator and was not accidentally put back in.

The Moderna vaccine can be used for 12 hours outside refrigeration, so the operator used the vaccine to inoculate 57 people and discard the rest. Police said the discarded dose was between $8,000 and $11,000.

Bahr said suspicions about the pharmacist grew as health system officials reviewed the case. After several interviews, the pharmacist admitted on Wednesday that he had deliberately removed the vaccine for two days, Bahr said.

That means that the doses people received on Saturday were almost useless, he said. Modena told Aurora there were no safety concerns, he said, but the hospital system was closely monitoring people who received spoiled doses.

Bahr did not comment on the pharmacist’s motive. He said the hospital system’s security protocol was sound.

“This was a situation involving bad actors,” he said. “Not a bad process.”

Wisconsin’s COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in recent days after falling in early December. The State Department of Health Services reported 3,810 new confirmed cases on Thursday, the day when infections increase for three consecutive days. The state has now confirmed 481,102 cases.

COVID-19 was a factor that caused 41 more deaths, with the statewide death toll increased to 4,859. The survival rate did not change to 99{74ca91e3bee52d91843c282edd75c0800a88a3d8744a3a1c83b7ba867058fc3c}.

According to the latest data from health agencies, as of Monday morning, just over 47,150 people were vaccinated in Wisconsin. New York State has received 265,575 doses of both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. As of Monday morning, only about 157,000 doses arrived.

Democrat’s Governor Tony Evers wrote a letter to President Donald Trump in early December asking Wisconsin to prioritize higher doses due to the high number of cases, swamp hospitals, and lack of statewide mitigation orders.


Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond.