West Virginia mistakenly handled 42 folks with Regeneron IV Covid as a substitute of a vaccination shot

A pharmacist dilutes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as he prepares it for administration to staff and residents at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, a senior community in Falls Church, Virginia, on December 30, 2020.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

Dozens of people in West Virginia were mistakenly given Regeneron’s Covid-19 antibodies instead of the Moderna vaccine, the West Virginia National Guard said Thursday.

According to the state’s National Guard, 42 people received the intravenous treatment at a Boone County Department of Health vaccination clinic. The National Guard said it learned of the mistake on Wednesday.

Everyone who received the antibody treatment instead of the vaccine, which is given through a shot in the arm, has been contacted, Julie Miller, a Boone County Health Department administrator, told CNBC via email. She added, “We don’t think there is any risk of harm.”

Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment, which must be given via an IV drip, is seen as a promising treatment for Covid-19 – especially if given early in the course of the infection. But the West Virginia mix-up is just one example of the confusion in the rush to distribute the vaccine to tens of millions of people. The rollout was slower than expected and was characterized by logistical challenges.

“It was determined that this was an isolated incident,” Miller said. “All those affected will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine today.”

She said the health department will work closely with the state National Guard and the Department of Health and Human Resources to review their policies and procedures.

Miller did not provide details on what caused the mix-up.

Representatives from the West Virginia National Guard and the West Virginia Governor’s Office did not respond to CNBC’s request for further comment on the occurrence of the error.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, said in a statement that his forces “acted immediately” to correct the mistake as soon as they found out what happened. “We immediately reviewed and strengthened our logs to improve our sales process and prevent this from happening again,” he said in a statement.

He added that the state will continue to promote the vaccine “to save more lives every day”.

Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s Covid-19 tsar, noted in a statement that the Regeneron treatment mistakenly given in place of the vaccine is the same product “that was given to President Trump when he became infected”.

“Although this injection is not harmful, it has replaced the vaccine,” he said. “However, this event provides an important opportunity for our leadership team to review and improve the safety and vaccination process for every West Virginian.”

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