COVID-19 Vaccine Providers Accidentally Gave Away 2nd Doses As 1st Shots

The state says some COVID-19 vaccine providers accidentally gave away doses that were supposed to be reserved for second shots; KDKA's Chris Hoffman reports.

Video Transcript

ALISON BEAM: We discovered some providers inadvertently used the Moderna vaccine shipped to them, intended as second doses, as first doses.

- And because of that, COVID vaccine providers in Pennsylvania could end up short more than 50,000 first doses next week. As you heard, this concerns the Moderna vaccine.

- Leaders blame a, quote, "perfect storm of circumstances." As Chris Hoffman explains, the error has gone on for weeks.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: The State Department of Health says this only happened with the Moderna vaccine. Now, tens of thousands of people will have to have a one to two-week delay in getting their second dose.

ALISON BEAM: We are working to address it this week. Over the next two to three weeks, we will have corrected for it.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam says it was a structural issue and has been going on since January. It has not impacted the Pfizer vaccine.

ALISON BEAM: There was inadvertent use of Moderna second doses, and it was an issue that compounded week over week.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: This week, vaccine providers requested about 200,000 second doses of Moderna. That's when the state says it realized the allotment for second doses got used. To try and correct the issue, the state expanded the time between the shots to 28 to 42 days, and stressed this still follows CDC guidelines.

ALISON BEAM: By extending the time between doses, while remaining within CDC guidelines, we can minimize any disruption to first-dose vaccinations.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: The ripple effect means that anywhere between 30,000 to 55,000 first-dose appointments may be impacted or rescheduled. Allegheny County says its vaccination sites are not impacted by the mix-up. Health director Dr. Debra Bogen says it keeps its first dose and second doses separate.

DEBRA BOGEN: I'm confident that the health department will be able to honor those second doses. Although, as suggested by the state, this may mean moving back the second dose by up to a few weeks.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: At this point, Dr. Bogen says there's no timeline on when the county vaccination sites could expand to include all of Phase 1A. She says about half of the health department's vaccines have gone to people 65 and older. Chris Hoffman, KDKA News.