Tennessee Department of Health notifies FBI of potential vaccine theft in Shelby County

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Posted at 11:19 AM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 22:15:43-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Shelby County Health Department Director after the Tennessee Department of Health has released new information about the vaccine wastage in Shelby County. The issues include potential vaccine theft and an instance where two children were vaccinated.

County Mayor Lee Harris told county commissioners Haushalter tendered her resignation Friday, according to WREG NewsChannel 3. Haushalter will remain a health department employee until an interim director is named.

Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been made aware of the potential theft involving a volunteer at one of the vaccination sites. Piercey could not elaborate on details of the investigation, but said it appears the doses had already been drawn up in syringes at the time of the theft.

Piercey said the department is also investigating how two children were able to receive appointments, when the vaccine has yet to be approved for anyone under 16.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also sending a team to Shelby County to investigate the findings.

Earlier in the week, TDH announced it had found more than seven instances of COVID-19 vaccine waste in Shelby County, amounting to more than 2,400 wasted doses. This came days after the announcement that more than 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses expired in Shelby County.

TDOH has released a timeline of their findings. Read the full timeline here.

However, Piercey reassured Shelby County residents that this would not slow down vaccination efforts in the county.

Tennessee is currently in phase 1b of its vaccine rollout, which includes those ages 65 and older, along with teachers and childcare workers. However, individual counties are moving at a different pace. For example, Metro started vaccinating its 65+ age group on Friday.

Because of supply, Tennesseans should check with their local health department to see which phase the county is in for vaccine distribution. The state health department launched an online scheduling tool for those wanting to make an appointment. Click here for more information.