Pfizer vaccine pharmacist mitigates COVID-19 as he prepares to administer employees and residents of Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, a large community of living in Falls Church, Virginia, on December 30, 2020.
Brendan Smyalovsky | Agence France-Presse | Getty Images
The West Virginia National Guard announced Thursday that dozens of people in West Virginia have mistakenly received a Regeneron Covid-19 antibody treatment instead of the Moderna vaccine.
The state National Guard said 42 people received the treatment, which is administered intravenously, at the vaccination clinic at the Bonn County Health Department. The National Guard said it learned of the mistake on Wednesday.
Bonn County Health Director Julie Miller told CNBC by email that everyone who received antibody treatment instead of the vaccine, which is given by injection into the arm, has been contacted. “We do not believe there is any risk of harm,” she added.
Regeneron treatment with monoclonal antibodies, which must be given via intravenous drip, is seen as a promising treatment for Covid-19 – especially when taken early during an infection. But the confusion in West Virginia is just one example of the confusion in the rush to distribute the vaccine to tens of millions of people. Start-up was slower than expected and logistical challenges.
“It was determined that this was a single incident,” Miller said. “The COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to all infected individuals today.”
She said the Ministry of Health will work closely with the state’s National Guard and the Department of Health and Human Resources to review their policies and procedures.
Miller did not provide any details on the cause of this error.
Representatives of the West Virginia National Guard and the West Virginia Governor’s Office did not respond to CNBC’s request for further comments about how the error occurred.
Major General James Hoyer, an assistant general in the National Guard in West Virginia, said in a statement that his forces “acted promptly” to correct the error as soon as they discovered what had happened. “We immediately reviewed and strengthened our protocols to reinforce our distribution process to prevent this from happening again,” he said in a statement.
He added that the country will continue to intensify the distribution of the vaccine, “to save more and more lives every day.”
Dr. Clay Marsh, a Covid-19 Caesar of the state, indicated in a statement that the Regeneron treatment that was given by mistake rather than a vaccine was the same product “that was given to President Trump when he was infected.”
“Although this injection is harmless, it has been replaced by the vaccine,” he said. “But this event provides our leadership team an important opportunity to review and improve the safety and immunization process for every resident of West Virginia.”