PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s Department of Health revealed Wednesday a giant vaccine allocation mistake that could impact more than 100,000 vaccination appointments. The mistake is only impacting the Moderna vaccine.
The health department says some providers mixed up 200,000 first and second doses. The state is now trying to find replacement vaccine and reschedule appointments.READ MORE: 'A Game Changer': CDC Recommends Johnson & Johnson's 1-Dose COVID Vaccine, Paving Way For Distribution To Begin
“We are not here to have blame placed anywhere,” said Acting Pennsylvania Health Secretary Alison Beam.
The acting health secretary refused to name the vaccine providers who made the mistake but called it a perfect storm that resulted in the misappropriation of 200,000 doses of Moderna vaccine.
“We discovered some providers inadvertently used the Moderna vaccine shipped to them intended as second doses, as first doses,” Beam said.
They’re now scrambling to get additional vaccine and use excess inventory, with the first priority going to between 30,000 to 60,000 people scheduled to get a second Moderna dose.
That’s supposed to happen in 28 days but can be stretched to 42 days.
“By extending the time between doses while remaining within CDC guidelines, we can minimize any disruption to first dose vaccinations,” Beam said.READ MORE: Irv Cross, Former Eagles Star DB And Pioneer Black Analyst, Dies At 81
The unnamed providers, which include a growing number of pharmacies who made the mistake, will do the rescheduling.
“I can assure you, with 100% certainty, that our team has been meticulous about keeping the first and second doses separated,” said Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh.
Even though Montgomery County didn’t fumble the doses, Arkoosh says they’ll have to juggle appointments because of the allocation mistake.
“I was surprised, furious and disappointed,” she said.
State officials blame limited vaccine, but the acting health secretary admitted oversight of providers has been lacking.
“Communications will also be enhanced throughout our path forward to allow us to prevent this from moving forward,” Beam said.
Many have criticized the state for not having a centralized vaccine system and distribution is basically left up to the providers.MORE NEWS: COVID In Philadelphia: City Easing More Restrictions Monday On Road To Recovery
Montgomery County says it will close or change hours for its mass vaccine clinics because of weather and the allocation mistake.