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Health officials in West Virginia mistakenly gave 42 people Covid-19 antibodies instead of the vaccine


A mistake at a West Virginia clinic led to 42 people being administered Covid-19 antibodies instead of the vaccine, but state and local health officials don’t think they are at any risk of harm.

The recipients were supposed to get their first doses of the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday at a clinic run by the Boone County Health Department, according to a statement from the West Virginia National Guard.

Instead, they were given a Regeneron antibody product, which is used to treat Covid-19.

“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,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, in the statement.

The National Guard is leading the planning and logistics for distributing the vaccine.

The Boone County Health Department said it has notified the 42 people and offered to give them the Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday.

Officials said it was an isolated incident but did not explain how the mix-up occurred when reached for further comment.

Regeneron’s antibody cocktail uses a combination of two engineered immune system proteins typically given via infusion — a different method from the injections used in vaccination.

Boone County is south of Charleston, the state capital.

The National Guard said that the Department of Health and Human Resources would follow up with those who received the antibodies as a precaution.

Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s Covid-19 czar, said there were no risks to the 42 people.

“The product administered are antibodies that fight COVID-19,” Marsh said in the statement. “In fact, this product was the same one that was administered to President Trump when he became infected. While this injection is not harmful, it was substituted for the vaccine. But this occurrence provides our leadership team an important opportunity to review and improve the safety and process of vaccination for each West Virginian.”

The National Guard said that 7,855 were vaccinated on Wednesday in West Virginia.

More than 2.7 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more than 12.4 million have been distributed.

US officials had promised to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of 2020.

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