A suburban Milwaukee pharmacist who wasted hundreds of COVID-19 doses by removing them from the refrigerator has been arrested, officials said Thursday.
As a result of the actions of the now-fired employee, 57 people received ineffective vaccine doses at Grafton’s Advocate ur Rora Health Hospital, hospital officials said. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of negligently endangering, the Grafton Police Department said.
Officials have not determined any motive. The pharmacist has not been identified.
On Dec. 24, unidentified pharmacists removed 57 vials containing 500 doses of Moderna vaccine from the refrigerator overnight and left them for two nights, hospital officials said. The dose was returned and then removed again.
As a result, hundreds of doses were discarded. Moderna said the spoiled dose during a virtual news conference on Thursday, there were no health risks associated with clinical leaders.
Pharma Rora Health Care Medical Group President Dr. A pharmacy technician found the vials outside the fridge on Saturday and reported the incident, Jeff Bahr said.
Hospital Hospital officials initially determined that the incident was the result of a human error, saying the employee had removed the vaccine to get something else in the refrigerator. But eventually the employee confessed to knowingly removing the vials from the cold storage, realizing that they would be ineffective if used.
Moderna vaccine can be stored at room temperature for up to 12 hours as long as possible. Clinicians gave some doses in that approved window.
“We continued vaccination until the rest of the vaccine was canceled because it was not effective,” Bahre said.
The cost of the spoiled dose ranged from 8 8,000 to 11 11,000, Grafton police said.
Health Ndria Palm, Wisconsin State Department of Health Services at Deskin, said she was disappointed that the COVID-19 vaccine was wasted.
“As we have seen in the last few weeks, our health care workers are keen to protect themselves from contracting Covid-19 through vaccination,” he said. “Immediately after the notification, DHS followed up with Ora Rora and worked closely with them as they examined the situation, reviewed their processes and implemented improvements.”
State Sen. Alberta Darling, who represents Grafton, described the incident as “disappointing.”
He tweeted, “That dose is for front line workers.” This unconscious act puts them in danger. “
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Bahre said the incident was the result of a “bad actor” protesting the bad process. The incident was investigated by Grafton Police, I. and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the FBI.