Knox County mayor hires outside firm to investigate missing COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

(Photo: WATE)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville Police and and an outside auditing firm are now investigating the disappearance of nearly a thousand doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the Knox County Health Department.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said he decided to hire the external auditing firm Pugh CPA after seeking guidance from District Attorney General Charme Allen over the weekend.

“Nothing so far as indicated malicious intent or criminal activity and we want to confirm that,” said Mayor Jacobs. “We do know a serious mistake was made because of a series of process issues at the health department. We need to fully understand every aspect of the mistake to be sure it won’t happen again.”

Senior Director and Public Health Officer Martha Buchanan has also asked Knoxville Police Department to investigate, since this happened inside city limits.

“As public health officials, we fully understand the gravity of this situation, and we welcome the third-party reviews,” Buchanan said. “We are eager to fully cooperate with the investigations. As we learn more about what exactly occurred, we will continue to implement process improvements and stronger safeguards.”

The investigations come a week after Buchanan held a press conference to announce that 975 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are missing from the Knox County Health Department. Buchanan said at the time that the doses were believed to have been mistaken for dry ice and discarded. The box of vaccines contained a GPS tracker and a temperature monitor.

The press release said that to ensure the integrity of the ongoing investigations, no additional comments will be made until KPD and Push CPA share their findings with Knox County.

The mayor’s office said the investigation could take several weeks.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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