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Officials investigate box of Covid-19 vaccines found on a Puerto Rico street

By / Published on Thursday, 25 Feb 2021 03:13 AM / Comments Off on Officials investigate box of Covid-19 vaccines found on a Puerto Rico street / 21 views



A box with almost two dozen Moderna Covid-19 vaccines was found on the street of a mountainous town in rural Puerto Rico, officials said Wednesday.

The reports surfaced after a resident of the town of Morovis handed a box that contained syringes and vaccine vials to officers of the Morovis Municipal Police. The person claimed to have found the box in a street in the Barahona neighborhood in Morovis.

Morovis Mayor Carmen Maldonado said she spoke with Puerto Rico’s Deputy Health Secretary, Dr. Iris Cardona, “so that the case can be investigated immediately. Thanks to the Morovis citizen who responsibly called the Municipal Police and filed the corresponding complaint,” Maldonado tweeted in Spanish.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Puerto Rican Health Secretary Carlos Mellado confirmed that the agency is investigating the case and is in the process of interviewing the person who found the box.

“We are talking about 31 vaccines that, sadly, were lost. I’m very upset and, most of all, outraged,” Mellado said in Spanish. “We have to investigate, up to the last consequences, because there is a pressing interest of the Puerto Rican people to know what happened.”

In a statement Wednesday night, Mellado said he received an update on the ongoing investigation. The vaccines had been delivered to a Walgreens pharmacy, under federal contract, meant for nursing home residents.

Mellado said he gave investigators 24 hours to submit a report with their findings in order “to adjudicate responsibility and refer the case to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Department of Justice or any other agency with jurisdiction.”

“Managing vaccines during an emergency requires all providers to act as responsibly as possible,” Mellado said in Spanish.

On the island of 3.2 million people, the virus has infected at least 91,834 people and killed 2,007.

Puerto Rico has received nearly 630,000 Covid-19 doses so far. Of these, at least 598,000 have already been distributed across the island and over 418,000 have already been administered, officials at the press conference said.

Sixty-eight percent of those who have been vaccinated have only received the first dose of the vaccine, while 32 percent have already received their second dose.

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