Hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine doses ruined 'intentionally,' hospital says

vaccine
Moderna vaccine Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The removal of several vials of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from a refrigeration unit at a Milwaukee area hospital — causing hundreds of doses to be spoiled — was done intentionally, officials said Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Advocate Aurora Health said an employee erred Dec. 26 by removing more than 50 vials of the vaccine to get to another item and accidentally left the vials out. Some of the coronavirus vaccine was used before it degraded, but another 500 doses had to be tossed.

Now, officials with the health system say the person did it on purpose.

“The individual in question today acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration,” the company said in a news release. “We have notified appropriate authorities for further investigation. We continue to believe that vaccination is our way out of the pandemic. We are more than disappointed that this individual’s actions will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine."

The person was fired. Further details were not available.

Both federally approved vaccines — one made by Moderna, the other by Pfizer — require strict cold-storage conditions to preserve their effectiveness. The vaccines are in limited supply and being administered first to frontline healthcare workers.

Here is the complete news release from Aurora Medical Care:

“Earlier this week, we learned that 57 vials of Moderna vaccine were removed from a pharmacy refrigerator at Aurora Medical Center - Grafton overnight, resulting in more than 500 doses of vaccine being discarded. We immediately launched an internal review and were led to believe this was caused by inadvertent human error. The individual in question today acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration. We have notified appropriate authorities for further investigation. We continue to believe that vaccination is our way out of the pandemic. We are more than disappointed that this individual’s actions will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine. This was a violation of our core values, and the individual is no longer employed by us."