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Police and accounting firm to investigate missing Pfizer vaccine

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Their work is expected to last several weeks or even months.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee To perhaps help shed light on the case, the Knoxville Police Department and an accounting firm have teamed up to find out what happened to a box of 975 vaccines against the virus that were deemed to be the missing last week in Knox County.

Dr Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department, asked the KPD to see what its investigators could learn, according to an announcement made Monday by Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ office.

In addition, the accounting firm Pugh will look into the matter.

The KPD’s review will be to make sure that no crime has been involved, and he will then forward anything he learns to Knox District Attorney General Charme Allen.

Pugh will review accounting controls and internal steps taken or not taken in handling the material, county officials said.

Jacobs told 10News on Friday that he didn’t think “foul play” was involved, and he ruled out the possibility that the vaccines could have been taken and sold privately.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health said it could not report on a shipment of the Pfizer vaccine it allegedly received.

An employee may have inadvertently thrown it away, thinking it only contained dry ice, Buchanan said.

There is also a debate as to whether it was actually received. Pfizer told WBIR last week that its records show the shipment has arrived at the health department.

“Nothing so far has indicated malicious intent or criminal activity and we want to confirm that,” Jacobs said in a statement on Monday. We know a big mistake has been made due to a series of process within the health department We need to fully understand every aspect of the error to be sure it does not happen again.

Buchanan said in Monday’s statement that she was happy to have a “third-party” review.

“We look forward to fully cooperating with the investigations. As we learn more about what exactly happened, we will continue to implement process improvements and stronger safeguards.

Depending on the county, it could take several weeks, if not months, for KPD and Pugh to complete their investigation and whatever it takes.

The Tennessee Department of Health said last week it was also working with the county health department to investigate what it believes to be “human error.”

KCHD said last week that it was changing its vaccine handling protocols.

Going forward, KCHD said two employees will greet each box of vaccine when it arrives and that each shipping box, regardless of its contents, will be fully inspected before being discarded.

In addition, KCHD will create schedule reminders to notify you of the arrival of second doses and check with county IT staff to ensure vaccine manufacturer notification emails are not being blocked by firewalls. .

The first realization that there could be a problem with a box of vaccine doses came on Thursday (February 4), the health ministry said.

After months of receiving and distributing Moderna vaccine, it had started to receive shipments of Pfizer vaccine, requiring unique ultra-cold storage procedures involving dry ice.

The first box of 975 Pfizer shots arrived about three weeks ago with no issues, the department said. For the first time in years, the department also received dry ice to facilitate storage of the vaccine.

Eighteen days later, according to state plans, the State Department of Health ordered Pfizer to send KCHD a second box of 975 injections for the second doses.

KCHD said they received a shipping notification for this second box, but “it contained an incorrect / not working tracking number”. He said there was no confirmation of delivery, but some box did arrive. Some time later, a box of a different design with only dry ice inside also arrived.

It was not until February 4, when an employee realized that the department did not have the second dose injections of Pfizer that they expected, that the alarm was raised.

“KCHD immediately contacted the Tennessee Department of Health to investigate,” a spokesperson for the Department of Health said.

Five days later, on Tuesday, February 9, the state told KCHD that the vaccines had been shipped and delivered to the health department.

KCHD released news of the missing vaccine the next day.

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