PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Questions continue to build over Philadelphia’s partnership with the organization Philly Fighting COVID. Andrei Doroshin, a 22-year-old Drexel University graduate student who started the organization, told NBC News program “Today” that he did take four doses of vaccine home and administered them to friends.
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Doroshin said he first tried to get those doses to people who were high-risk.
He said he “called everybody they knew,” but he couldn’t find anyone, before the doses were going to expire.
“I stand by that decision,” Doroshin told “Today.” “I understand I made that mistake. That is my mistake to carry for the rest of my life. But it is not the mistake of the organization.”
Doroshin said he is not a nurse and was not qualified to administer the doses.
Doroshin added that he has been receiving death threats.
The allegations first came to light after Katrina Lipinsky, who says she is a registered nurse and volunteered for the clinic, posted on Twitter that Doroshin “took home a ziplock bag-full of vaccines.”
Lipinsky detailed to Eyewitness News Doroshin leaving the site with vaccine.
“It was the end of the day. We had a ton of left over Pfizer vaccines that had not been used, already drawn up in syringes. I was sort of milling about because we still had some people coming in to be vaccinated. I watched Andrei walk from the vaccination area with a plastic bag of vaccines and CDC vaccination record cards. He put it in his bag and left with another staff member,” Lipinsky said. “Before I left, I approached the chief of medical staff, a nurse practitioner, who told me — and I don’t remember his exact wording — that the PDPH [Philadelphia Department of Public Health] knew, or that they wanted us to do that, so that the extra vaccines wouldn’t be wasted. Andrei took vaccines for, I can only assume, his friends. He is not a licensed clinician. Who administered those vaccines? Who observed the patients for 15-30 minutes?”READ MORE: Balloon Release Held To Remember 16-Year-Old High School Basketball Player Gunned Down In Southwest Philadelphia
On Tuesday, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley called the report “disturbing,” after the city abruptly terminated its relationship with Philly Fighting COVID when it switched from nonprofit status to for-profit, enabling it to sell personal information gathered from tens of thousands of people who registered on its website expressing interest in getting the COVID vaccine.
“I saw earlier today a claim in a tweet that the organization might have diverted some doses. If that’s true, that’s very disturbing, they shouldn’t do that,” Dr. Farley said. “As you know, we’ve stopped our relationship with this organization. But we’re going to try to do what we can to find out if there were any missing doses and, as I said, we will not be working with that organization in the future.”
Some Philadelphia City Council members are now demanding answers about why the city put a critical public health project in the hands of Doroshin’s organization.
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a statement denouncing the organization’s change in status from a nonprofit to a for-profit and encouraged people to report any mismanagement of vaccines to his office.
“Taking advantage of people and their privacy under the guise of serving as a nonprofit is not only unethical — it can also be against Pennsylvania law. These allegations against Philly Fighting COVID are serious and any consumers who believe they have been misled should file a complaint with our office — online, by phone, or by emailing email@example.com. We have been in touch with the City to obtain any information they can provide about these allegations. Our office oversees charitable organizations in the Commonwealth and we will ensure they are acting in good faith with the communities they serve,” Shapiro said.
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