SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Days after the CDC finished their final report of an investigation into the Shelby County government’s alleged mishandling of vaccines.
Shelby County Health Officer Bruce Randolph spoke out at Thursday’s COVID-19 Taskforce briefing stating that the report exonerates the health department from allegedly storing vaccines at the wrong temperature in early February.
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“I know that we have taken some uncalled for and unjustified criticism in the media. We have gotten blame for something the health department staff and nurses did not do, and I think it’s my duty as a health officer to bring that out. This report, in my opinion, exonerates us, and it shows that we did our job and you can hold your head up and not be ashamed,” said Randolph.
The CDC’s report notes that the vaccines were allegedly stored at the wrong temperature but were safe and effective, so there’s no need for people who got the shots to be re-vaccinated.
The CDC’s report doesn’t address the claim that vaccines were allegedly stolen by a volunteer and children were inappropriately vaccinated.
Randolph said those incidents should not be attributed to the health department.
“As it relates to these so-called stolen vaccines, it hasn’t been completely proven, and there’s still some investigation there. And the vaccination of children did not occur as a result of a Shelby County nurse or staff person rendering that vaccine. That’s something that should be brought out and clarified. Those incidents occurred at sites that was not controlled and manned by the health department. It was the city of Memphis and UT Health Science Center that were over those locations,” said Randolph.
Dr. McCullers at the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center said, “two children were vaccinated by mistake in early Feb. at the Appling site run by City of Memphis / University Clinical Health. Processes have been put in place to ensure that the mistake with the children will not be repeated. The stolen vaccine was reportedly at the Pipkin site, which UTHSC/UCH did not manage at that time but has since taken it over.”
The state and the CDC have left Shelby County, but there is a final report that will be sent to Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris.