Police report recounts loss of Pfizer vaccine at Knox County Health Department

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An incident report on the 975 vials of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that went missing in February at the Knox County Health Department confirms the story given by Director Dr. Martha Buchanan.

“At this time I do not believe this aforementioned vaccine was stolen,” the report states. “I believe this was mistakenly thrown out as stated by both (KCHD employees). Documents from FedEx, Pfizer and Waste Management support their statements.”

Video from the Health Department’s loading dock showed part of the incident.

The Knoxville Police Department began looking into the incident on Feb. 15, after an internal investigation by the Health Department. The county also hired an outside firm to look into the lost vaccine.

The report says the vials were shipped Jan. 28 by FedEx from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and arrived a day later.

The boxes arrived the morning of Jan. 29 and a Knox County Health Department employee signed for the box but “never saw the vaccine and was told to throw away the box that was thought to contain only dry ice.”

A second employee told investigators they ordered the box thrown away after they inspected it and thought it only contained dry ice.

On Feb. 1, Waste Management came to pick up the trash and a GPS marker activated to the vaccine being moved.

Follow-ups with FedEx, Pfizer and Waste Management all showed the delivery of the vaccine was made within temperature parameters and the discarded box was taken with no knowing of what was inside, the report states.

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