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Faulty Vaccines Also Administered at NEO Walgreens Store

a photo of Walgreens
Jonathan Weiss
The issue involving damaged vaccines administered by Walgreens was originally thought to only affect five long-term care facilities but 13 doses were also given out at the Ashtabula Walgreen's store.

A 73-year-old married couple from Akron, who asked to remain anonymous, and several others received faulty vaccines at an Ashtabula Walgreens store on Feb. 1 and will have to retake the shots.

The couple reached out to WCPN after hearing about similar issues at several local nursing homes in the area on Feb. 2.

Walgreens officials confirmed that the couple received vaccine doses that were left over from those given out at one of the affected long-term care facilities.  

Some of the vaccine doses, which were not stored at the proper temperature, were given out at nursing homes and at vaccine clinics at two Walgreens stores in Northeast Ohio.

"In the process of accounting for all doses that were subject to the improper storage, we determined that 13 doses had been returned to two of our stores following the clinics," Walgreens officials said in an email.

"Consistent with our policy to not waste any vaccines, these doses were administered to 12 individuals 70 years old or above, and one individual who was 65. We notified the state of this, and all 13 individuals have been contacted directly, and all are scheduled to be re-vaccinated in the next five days," officials said in the email.

The Akron couple was originally scheduled to receive vaccines on Feb. 3 at a Walgreens store, 318 W. Prospect Rd. in Ashtabula, but received a call from the pharmacy on Monday letting them know they could get the vaccine that day.

They drove more than 75 miles one way to get the vaccine but found out the next day it was improperly stored, and they would have to get another shot.

They plan to drive back to Ashtabula again on Feb. 4 to retake the new “first” dose.

Residents at the following five long-term care facilities were also given damaged COVID-19 vaccine from Walgreens:

  • The Maples/Ashtabula County Residential Services Corporation
  • Ashtabula Towers
  • Heather Hill Care Communities in Chardon
  • Six Chimneys in Cleveland
  • Willow Park Convalescent Home in Cleveland

"Vaccines were given – and there is no harm to anyone – but these vaccinations will have to be done again," Gov. Mike DeWine said in his Tuesday briefing. “The problem did not arise at the nursing home is my understanding. My understanding, this problem arose someplace else whenever they were getting the doses.”

“We sometimes will end up with additional doses because, for whatever reason, the long-term care facility did not need the amount that we thought they did,” said Fraser Engerman, a spokesperson for Walgreens.

Engerman said when that happens, they reallocate the doses to people who are eligible under the state’s requirements.

Walgreens officials would not give the exact locations of the stores where the faulty vaccines were administered.

Copyright 2021 90.3 WCPN ideastream.