FBI investigating stolen COVID-19 vaccines claims

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — State officials have asked the FBI to look into claims that a Shelby County volunteer possibly stole COVID-19 vaccines from a popular distribution site. FOX13 has also learned two children were inappropriately vaccinated at the Appling site on the same day.

Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said the children had appointments with their mother to get the vaccine, but the FDA has not approved any vaccine for children. The state said they’re still unclear on how the children received appointments.

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“The volunteer may have believed that that’s what he or she was supposed to do if a person had an appointment. We’re unsure if we even know who they are. We don’t have visibility of if it was reported in their system,” said Piercey.

Both incidents happened on February 3rd. The state said they didn’t get word of it until February 25th, more than three weeks later.

“It was the first time that we were made aware of the potential theft on February 3rd. To our knowledge and in the documents from Mayor Harris, it was not reported to any federal or state authorities.”

The state said they were notified from a source in the field site, and then reported the theft to the FBI. The state believes the volunteer left the site with full syringes.

The Shelby County Health Department released a statement saying:

“Although there were no witnesses to a theft, staff were suspicious of the volunteer, who is a medical professional. The Shelby County Health Department removed the volunteer from the premises and the site supervisor contacted law enforcement regarding the incident. Law enforcement concluded that there was insufficient information to file a report of any theft or unlawful conduct.”

The state said the FBI will determine the next steps as early as next week.

The state added that there are no updates, ages or names for the children who received the vaccine, due to a lack of information reported by the county.

We’ve reached out to the Shelby County Health Department about the children, and they declined to comment.

The volunteer who reportedly stole the vaccines is no longer working with the county.