TDH releases final report in SCHD investigation

Published: May. 24, 2021 at 7:47 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A final report has been released in an investigation that rocked the Shelby County Health Department. The Tennessee Department of Health released its final report after an investigation began in February into vaccine wastage at the county health department. A final report from CDC investigators was released earlier this year.

While investigators from the state health department and CDC found more than 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines were wasted or expired, much of the focus was on if any expired or spoiled doses went into arms.

The final report definitively says vaccines administered in Shelby County were not compromised.

In it’s final report, the Tennessee Department of Health identified multiple deficiencies discovered during its investigation into wasted vaccine doses at the Shelby County Health Department. They include management of vaccine inventory, a large number of unused doses and inadequate record keeping.

The investigation started in February when TDH was notified of more than 1500 doses allowed to expire at the Shelby County Health Department. Days later the state discovered nearly 850 more.

Investigators worked to determine if any doses administered at community vaccination sites deviated from safe temperatures outlined by vaccine makers.

The investigation found workers at the Department and the vaccination pods understood the temperature requirements. When it comes to temperature reports, investigators noted: “The onsite team repeatedly requested written documentation of temperature monitoring, but documents were not readily available at the time of the initial response and, when provided, remained incomplete.”

However, in conclusion, with the help of vaccine manufacturers, investigators said “All plausible documented [temperature excursions] identified at POD events were presented to the vaccine manufacturers and stability data from the manufacturers supported that the vaccines did not experience extremes of temperatures sufficient to render them ineffective.”

The report recommends assessment and corrective action continues with the Shelby County Health Department’s vaccine program once new leadership is named.

In its final report, CDC investigators said in regards to following vaccine protocols at the Shelby County Health Department, “It is doubtful these concerns are unique to Shelby County, but are instead occurring across the state.”

The report also said it was found a volunteer did steal five vaccine doses from a vaccination site.

The investigation resulted in the resignation of former Health Department Dr. Alisa Haushalter and the transfer of vaccine distribution to the City of Memphis.

Since December more than 350,000 people have been vaccinated in Shelby County.

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