FILE - In this undated file photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Britain has authorized use of a second COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country to greenlight an easy-to-handle shot that its developers hope will become the “vaccine for the world.” The United Kingdom government says the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has made an emergency authorization for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca. (John Cairns/University of Oxford via AP, File)

FILE - In this undated file photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Britain has authorized use of a second COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country to greenlight an easy-to-handle shot that its developers hope will become the “vaccine for the world.” The United Kingdom government says the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has made an emergency authorization for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca. (John Cairns/University of Oxford via AP, File)

Police investigate deliberate spoiling of 500 vaccine doses

Employee fired and matter referred to authorities

GRAFTON, Wis. — Police and federal authorities are investigating after a Wisconsin health system said an employee admitted to deliberately spoiling 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine.

Aurora Medical Center first reported that the doses has been spoiled on Saturday, saying they had been accidentally left out unrefrigerated overnight by an employee at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton. The health system said Wednesday that the doses of vaccine now appear to have been deliberately spoiled.

Police in Grafton, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) north of Milwaukee, said in a statement that the department, FBI and Food and Drug Administration are “actively” investigating the case. Police said they were notified of the alleged tampering Wednesday night. Police said Thursday morning that no other information would be immediately released, and declined to say if any arrests have been made.

In a statement late Wednesday, Aurora said the employee involved “acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration.”

Aurora said it has fired the employee and referred the matter to the authorities. The statement said nothing about a possible motive for the action.

“We continue to believe that vaccination is our way out of the pandemic. We are more than disappointed that this individual’s actions will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine,” the statement said.

Aurora said it would provide more information on Thursday.

By The Associated Press

Coronavirusvaccines