Advocate Aurora Well being Defends COVID-19 Vaccine Security After “Unhealthy Actors” Taint Doses
Advocate Aurora Health attorneys said Thursday they were still confident about the system’s security logs, despite a staff member deliberately removing 570 doses of coronavirus vaccine from the refrigerator over the weekend. The act is the result of a “bad actor” and not “bad trials”. “”
A pharmacist at Aurora Medical Center-Grafton, Wisconsin, admitted removing 57 vials from freezers at least twice between December 24 and 26, each containing approximately 10 doses of the Moderna vaccine. The employee, who has not yet been identified, put the vials back into storage and was fired. Local and federal authorities are investigating the incident.
A pharmacy technician found the vials outside the refrigerator on the morning of December 26th.
Some of these doses were used to vaccinate 57 frontline health workers on Dec. 27. Dr. Jeff Bahr, president of the Aurora Health Care Medical Group, said these employees had been informed that the incidents may have tainted their doses.
The discarded vials are likely to delay vaccination for hundreds of people. Bahr said the health system will coordinate with Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration on a plan to re-vaccinate the 57 people in the face of the tainted doses.
“There is currently no evidence that the vaccinations are harming them other than that they may be less effective or ineffective,” Bahr said. “There is no evidence that the person concerned tampered with the vaccine other than taking it out of the refrigerator.”
Bahr could not provide any information on a possible motive for why the pharmacist had removed the vials from the refrigerator. Unlike the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech, which requires special freezers that can reach temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius, the Moderna vaccine can be stored in many standard freezers.
Bahr said an internal review of the incident did not reveal any significant security vulnerabilities that would warrant changing their current logs.
“We firmly believe that our processes are solid,” said Bahr. “That was more of a bad actor than a bad process.”
However, the incident raises security concerns about the storage of coronavirus vaccines in healthcare facilities. Like Advocate Aurora, other hospital systems have put security in place to prepare for the vaccine to be distributed.
Charles Jolie, a spokesman for the Rush University health system in Chicago, said they had no plans to reevaluate their safety protocols and expressed confidence that the systems they developed to safely store and distribute the vaccine will continue to be effective .
“We ran into no problems and developed a system that gives us great confidence as we continue to be partners in vaccine distribution,” said Jolie.