An investigation by Tennessee health officials has revealed potential COVID-19 vaccine theft and "inappropriately vaccinated" children among a growing vaccine scandal in Shelby County. Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been notified.
The Tennessee Department of Health recently released findings of its investigation into the county, fining that 2,500 vaccine doses were expired or wasted in about three weeks throughout February, CNN reports. Additionally, two children were "inappropriately vaccinated" at a Shelby County Health Department event on February 3, despite no report being made locally or federally, according to state health commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey.
"We don't see any process for accountability or confirmation there, which has undoubtedly potentially harmed some folks and withheld vaccine from people who needed it," said Dr. Piercey.
According to CNN, the same that the children were vaccinated, a volunteer was suspected of stealing several vaccine doses at another health department event. It is unclear how many doses may have been taken.
Gov. Bill Lee address concerns over the scandal in one of Tennessee's largest counties.
"My reaction is real disappointment, primarily disappointment for the people of Shelby County," said Gov. Lee. "How do we make sure that the people that live in this county do not miss any opportunity for this life saving vaccine?"
Since the investigation reports were released, the City of Memphis has taken over the distribution of vaccines, according to WMC.
"That speaks to the great deal of concern that we have for it, that those vaccines have been transferred, moved to another location," he said, adding that "the distribution is being handled through separate channels because of the great concern we have."
On Friday (February 26), Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter resigned from her position, effective March 15. Mayor Lee Harris announced Monday that the county has begun its search for her replacement.
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