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In error, 42 in West Virginia received COVID-19 treatment, not vaccine

Forty-two people in West Virginia were given an antibody treatment via infusion instead of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is administered by an injection in the arm. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Forty-two people in West Virginia were given an antibody treatment via infusion instead of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is administered by an injection in the arm. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Forty-two people who went to a West Virginia clinic for a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday received an antibody treatment "in error," the state's National Guard said Thursday.

"Yesterday, the West Virginia National Guard learned of an error which resulted in 42 people receiving Regeneron antibody product instead of Moderna vaccine," the statement Thursday read.

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"The 42 individuals received the antibody product at a vaccination clinic hosted by staff at the Boone County Health Department."

Despite their receiving the antibody treatment via infusion instead of the vaccine, which is administered by an injection in the arm, county health department administrator Julie Miller told CNBC in an email "we do not believe there is any risk of harm."

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Miller said everyone given the antibody treatment has been contacted.

"It has been determined that this was an isolated incident," Miller said. "All of the affected individuals will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine today."

The West Virginia National Guard said Joint Interagency Task Force medical experts "do not believe there is any risk of harm to these 42 individuals."

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Dr. Clay Marsh, the state's COVID-19 czar, said the antibody treatment mistakenly given was the "same one administered to President Trump when he became infected."

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What caused the mistake has not been disclosed.

"But this occurrence provides our leadership team an important opportunity to review and improve the safety and process of vaccination for each West Virginian," Marsh said in his statement.

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Across the state, 7,855 people were vaccinated Wednesday, and no other individuals received the antibody instead of the vaccine, according to the National Guard.

"The moment that we were notified of what happened, we acted right away to correct it, and we immediately reviewed and strengthened our protocols to enhance our distribution process to prevent this from happening again," Maj. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, said in the statement.

"I remain incredibly proud of all that our team has accomplished. Our number one goal has been to save lives, and, as we continue to ramp up distribution of the vaccine all across the state, we continue to save more and more lives every day."

In a separate incident in Wisconsin, health officials had to throw out hundreds of doses of COVID-19 vaccine after a health worker intentionally spoiled them by removing them from refrigeration.

The U.S. administration's vaccine rollout as a whole has fallen roughly 17 million short of its goal of inoculating 20 million people in 2020, federal data shows.

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