A review has been launched after more than 40 people were mistakenly injected with the Regeneron antibody treatment instead of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at a West Virginia clinic.
The West Virginia National Guard announced the monumental blunder Thursday revealing that 42 people were given the antibody cocktail at a vaccination clinic in Boone County in the southwestern part of the state the day before.
Officials insisted the antibody injection is ‘not harmful’ to the individuals but said the health department will follow up ‘regularly’ with them anyway.
The group has also been prioritized and offered the real vaccine Thursday.
West Virginia Adjutant General James Hoyer, who is heading up the state’s vaccine rollout programme, blamed what he described as a ‘breakdown in the process’ and ‘a few human errors’ for the mistake.
Boone County Health Department said it is working with the West Virginia National Guard and state health department to ‘review all internal policies and procedures’.
More than 40 people have been mistakenly injected with the Regeneron antibody treatment instead of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at a West Virginia clinic in Boone County. Pictured the Boone County Health Department building
The National Guard said the blunder occurred at the unidentified facility Wednesday and that the 42 people given the wrong drug had been contacted by the state.
Officials insisted no other vaccine shipments had been affected and reassured residents that no other West Virginians had been accidentally given the wrong drug.
Regeneron, a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, was famously given as a treatment to Donald Trump when he was hospitalized with the virus in October.
It was then granted emergency use authorization by the FDA in November for mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and children who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19.
It is typically administered by infusion rather than injection, raising more questions over how the blunder unfolded.
State officials insisted in a press release that there is no ‘risk of harm’ to the individuals.
‘The product administered are antibodies that fight COVID-19,’ said Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s COVID-19 Czar.
‘In fact, this product was the same one that was administered to President Trump when he became infected.’
The West Virginia National Guard announced the monumental blunder Thursday revealing that 42 people were given the antibody cocktail at a vaccination clinic in Boone County. Pictured a Moderna shot being administered
Marsh said officials had reviewed and improved the vaccination process to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
‘While this injection is not harmful, it was substituted for the vaccine. But this occurrence provides our leadership team an important opportunity to review and improve the safety and process of vaccination for each West Virginian,’ he said.
Hoyer said in a statement that the mistake had been corrected and protocols ‘strengthened’.
‘The moment that we were notified of what happened, we acted right away to correct it, and we immediately reviewed and strengthened our protocols to enhance our distribution process to prevent this from happening again,’ he said.
Officials did not go into detail about what had caused the mix-up but Hoyer brushed it off as ‘human errors’ in an interview with MetroNews Talkline Thursday morning.
‘The facility put those doses of the Regeneron with the doses of the Moderna that went into the hub,’ he said on the show.
West Virginia Adjutant General James Hoyer (above), who is heading up the state’s vaccine rollout programme, blamed what he described as a ‘breakdown in the process’ and ‘a few human errors’ for the mistake
‘Unfortunately, while we had checks in place due to a few human errors those checks did not follow through.’
He also reinforced that ‘there are no issues’ for the people injected with the wrong drug saying it was ‘a very small amount’.
However, aside from concerns about the health implications on the affected individuals, the blunder also cost the state crucial doses of Regeneron.
The antibody cocktail is notoriously in short supply nationwide with some hospitals across the country doling it out by a lottery system as there is nowhere near enough for all patients in need.
The blunder marks just the latest saga in the US’s vaccine rollout, as the nation prepares to dismally fail its 2020 COVID-19 vaccination target when the clock strikes midnight New Year’s Eve.
The latest data from the CDC, as of 9 a.m. ET Wednesday, reveals that just 2,794,588 Americans have received the first dose of the jab.
This is only about 10 percent of the 20 million doses the government promised to have administered by the end of 2020 and just two percent of the 100 million doses that Donald Trump boasted would be administered by January 1.
A total of 12,409,050 doses have been distributed by the federal government meaning that roughly 10 million doses are currently sitting in the hands of state health departments rather than in the arms of at-risk Americans.
West Virginia has vaccinated the highest percentage of its population among all states so far, with 2.18 percent of all state residents having received the first jab, according to a Bloomberg analysis of CDC data.
Regeneron, a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, was famously given as a treatment to Donald Trump when he was hospitalized with the virus in October. Officials insisted the antibody injection is ‘not harmful’ to the individuals given the wrong drug
The state announced another 7,855 West Virginians were vaccinated Wednesday and doses have so far been delivered to every long-term-care facility statewide.
Unlike other states, West Virginia’s vaccine rollout is being led by the leader of the National Guard.
But the state is still falling short with the number of shots administered making up only 38 percent of the supply currently available.
Nationwide, the worst-performing states for vaccine administration are Kansas, Georgia and Arizona, none of which have administered even 17 percent of the doses they have received so far.
The nation’s top health experts who have been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic waded into the vaccine rollout chaos Thursday, as both state and federal authorities continue to point the blame for delays at each other.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said on the NBC Today Show Thursday that spreading out the first doses of the vaccine to more people is ‘under consideration’.
‘I still think, if done properly, you can do a single dose, reserve doses for the second dose, and still get the job done,’ said Fauci.
‘But there’s a lot of discussion about whether or not you want to spread out the initial vaccination by getting more people vaccinated on the first round.’
This map shows the number of doses that have gone un-administered in each state
A second dose of the Pfizer shot should be administered 21 days after the first and a second Moderna shot 28 days after the first.
At present, doses are being held back by the federal government to ensure the second dose is available for individuals receiving the first.
Fauci admitted the rollout of the vaccine has so far been ‘disappointing’ but said the federal government needs to ‘support the local groups, the states and the cities’ to ramp up the pace.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams also admitted state health departments ‘are chronically underfunded’ on Good Morning America Thursday morning, but leaped to defend the federal government’s response saying 20 million doses would be on the ground by next week.
With both the federal government and the states missing the target by a long shot, questions are being asked over who is to blame and how the situation can be remedied.
The hold-ups in the US vaccine rollout comes as the US set yet another grim record for the deadliest day yet on Wednesday – and a new mutant ‘super strain’ of the virus was detected in southern California and Colorado.
There were more than 3,903 deaths in 24 hours on Wednesday – the highest since the start of the pandemic.
It is the ninth time this month that single-day fatalities have exceeded 3,000 – numbers never seen in the US before December.
Hospitalizations soared to a new high too, with 125,220 Americans with coronavirus in inpatient treatment.