A hospital employee in the United States deliberately destroyed around 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by removing them from the pharmacy refrigerator. According to NBC News, the employee has been fired and arrested by the police, who said that the accused has admitted to intentionally damaging the vaccine doses. The motive behind the disturbing act is unclear and the identity of the man has also not been revealed by the police.
The incident took place at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, north of Milwaukee on Saturday. According to the report, initially, it appeared that the vials had been left outside the refrigerator by mistake. But later, the hospital pharmicist admitted to deliberately leaving the doses outside in order to cause damage. 57 vials of Moderna's mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine were damaged during the incident, each of which contained 10 doses.
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine vials are required to be stored in temperatures between 3-8 degrees Celcius. Aurora Medical Center in a statement said that it is "disappointed" by the incident and has terminated the employee who was behind the deliberate damaging of vaccine vials. The United States is currently running vaccination campaigns across the country and is prioritising health care professionals.
Aurora Medical Center is also running the vaccination drive and has so far vaccinated more than 21,000 health care workers. The incident comes at a time when the US is struggling to provide enough doses to states and territories as promised earlier. The United States had said that it would vaccinate more than 20 million people by the end of 2020, but so far less than 3 million people have been administered the COVID-19 vaccine.
To date, more than 21,000 health care heroes have already stepped up and gotten their #COVID19Vaccine at @AdvocateAurora! We thank them for doing their part to help end this pandemic. Follow #IGotMine on Instagram to read some of their inspiring stories: https://t.co/jzz7PEvZ1t pic.twitter.com/7dE9t0oDvN— Aurora Health Care (@Aurora_Health) December 30, 2020