The student CEO of a company tasked with distributing coronavirus vaccines in Philadelphia admitted Thursday that he had given some doses to friends, sparking anger in the US where the rollout of shots has been sluggish.
Philadelphia’s local government employed Philly Fighting Covid, a group founded by 22-year-old Andrei Doroshin last year, to distribute thousands of Covid-19 vaccines across the eastern US city.
The group was a major player in Philadelphia’s coronavirus fight, first by participating in testing and then in early January by organizing the city’s first major vaccination center.
Philly Fighting Covid vaccinated nearly 7,000 people, mostly frontline health workers, who were given priority under the vaccination drive.
But Doroshin admitted that he had taken doses home and injected four of his friends, despite not being a registered nurse.
He defended his actions by saying that the doses were about to expire and his group could not find anyone in high-risk groups who were eligible for a shot.
“I stand by that decision. I understand that I made that mistake. That is my mistake to carry for the rest of my life, but it is not the mistake of the organization,” he told NBC.
The city severed ties with the group after it became a for-profit organization.
Several officials have called for an investigation into why city hall awarded the contract to someone so young.
Most states are prioritizing vaccines for workers most exposed to the virus and people over 65.
The lifespan of the vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna is very limited once the vials have been opened.
There have been other reports of doses administered to non-priority people.
According to US media, health workers in Oregon administered six doses of the Moderna vaccine to motorists after they became trapped in a snowstorm, knowing the vials would likely expire before they got out.