Feb 12 2021
06:07 am

The story keeps moving. Result? KCHD elects to no longer receive Pfizer vaccines?!?!?

WATE reports, Knox County Health Department reports 975 missing Pfizer coronavirus vaccines.

They think someone accidentally threw them away. Apparently they don't look in all the boxes and just assumed the boxes contained the dry ice cooling product, not vaccines.

Then a KCHD spokesperson "said there is no evidence that the vaccine shipment arrived at the Knox County Health Department."

Pfizer responds, "Pfizer ships whatever order quantity a certain location asked for, and monitors the temperature and routes of the vaccines throughout the shipment process. Once the vaccines are received and accepted by the point of use facility, the facility is responsible for monitoring the temperature or location."

A KCHD "spokesperson said there are steps in place moving forward that would prevent vaccine to go missing."

Moving forward?

WATE further reports, "The statement from TDH [Tennessee Dept of Health] also revealed that KCHD had voluntarily elected to receive the other vaccine product and will not receive Pfizer vaccines in the future; with the exception of the second doses that will need to be administered over the next three weeks."

I'm not sure that's a good response, but whatever.

Joe328's picture

This story needs more

This story needs more investigation to ensure suspicion of wrong doing is resolved. WATE reported they requested information on facilities receiving the vaccine. The Health Dept was hesitant to respond, but finally did say UT and TENNOVA Hospitals received vaccines along with some private facilities, but refused to name the private facilities. This is not the time to be deceptive.

bizgrrl's picture

WATE reports, From SHELLEY


"Knox County’s decision not to receive any additional Pfizer vaccine is not at all related to the incident resulting in lost vaccine doses. Our vaccination team reached out to partners including the Knox County Health Department to ask which product they’d prefer to use, and Knox County chose the Moderna vaccine. I want to make it clear that choice was not any sort of punitive action, and again, is not the result of what occurred with the missing Pfizer doses.”

fischbobber's picture

Shipper error

This shipment did not follow standard protocol for everyday packages, much less a high value protocol nor a protocol designed for tightly controlled shipments. There is only so much data that will be released however, due to security concerns.

The likely scenarios include, shipping/ dock error. Shipping clerks make mistakes. That doesn’t make them bad people, it makes them human. Label error. The package went somewhere other than where the folks are looking. Pilferage. This would likely occur at the point of shipment or in transit. Damage in transit. It happens. Mis-delivery. It doesn’t sound like the delivery driver has a strong relationship with this customer. That’s on the delivery company.

Clearly calling this much ado about nothing would be to discount the value of this shipment. But situations like this happen every day. It is imperative to act quickly and with a strong ethical standard in order to get to the bottom of these situations and Dr. Buchanan has done that. I’ve been doing this for 44 years now, and except for the possibility of pilferage, I’m having a hard time finding nefarious motives nor even gross incompetence. Sounds to me like they’re figuring this out and, for now anyway, it’s going to be viewed as none of the public’s business. As long as new hires, short staffing, incomplete training and communication issues affect supply chains, situations like this will occur.

I was still impressed by the way Dr. Buchanan stepped up and took accountability before the whole story came out. That’s what leadership looks like.

jbr's picture

Considering what is happening

Considering what is happening in Knoxville and the planet in general, I would be more surprised that there aren't occasional mistakes. It is a worldwide massive undertaking fraught with frenzied atmosphere and in some places tension, and hurried tasks. That type of culture is just going to result in errors on occasion. No matter what you are trying to do.

bizgrrl's picture

KCHD did not turn down

Knox County Health Dept. Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2021
Contact: Joint Information Center

KCHD did not turn down COVID-19 vaccine and will continue to receive standard allotments

Knoxville, Tenn. – The Knox County Health Department has not turned down receiving Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and will continue to receive standard allotments from the State.

This week, the State asked KCHD its preference for receiving one vaccine over the other. This conversation was completely unrelated to the events that occurred with the Pfizer vaccine KCHD announced on Wednesday.

Moderna is easier to store and handle, due to less stringent temperature requirements and is packaged in smaller allotments (100 doses compared to 975 of Pfizer) – which makes Moderna a better choice for KCHD to share with partners and take to smaller community vaccination clinics. For these reasons, KCHD told the state they preferred to receive Moderna if given a choice.

“We never asked not to be sent Pfizer, we only stated a preference for receiving Moderna,” said Senior Director and Public Health Officer Dr. Martha Buchanan. “The bottom line is this: This preference has no bearing on the volume of vaccine that KCHD or our community will receive, and we will continue to push vaccine out to our community as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The amount of vaccine that KCHD receives from the State will not be affected.

“Knox County’s decision not to receive additional Pfizer vaccine at this time is not at all related to the incident resulting in lost vaccine doses,” said Dr. Michelle Fiscus, Medical Director of TDH’s Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization Program.

“We have frequent conversations with partners, including the Knox County Health Department, and work together to determine which vaccine will best suit the needs of the partner and the state. Knox County Health Department chose to receive Moderna vaccine next week. The choice was not a punitive action, and again, is not the result of what occurred with the missing Pfizer doses.”

Those who received their first dose of Pfizer vaccine through KCHD will still receive a second dose of Pfizer.

To date, more than 62,000 vaccinations have been administered in Knox County.

About Knox County Health Department:
The first health department in Tennessee to achieve national voluntary accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Knox County Health Department (KCHD) is dedicated to ensuring the conditions in which every resident can be healthy. As a chief health strategist for the community and with more than 240 team members, KCHD’s broad scope of work includes convening partners to improve community health, identifying community health threats, investigating disease outbreaks, conducting extensive outreach and education, preparing for public health emergencies, providing and connecting the public with medical care, enforcing food safety and air quality laws, and more. For more information, visit (link...).

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