Thief Steals COVID-19 Vaccines In India, Returns Shots With
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Amid reports of daily COVID-19 cases crossing 300,000 and vaccines going out of supply in India, hundreds of vaccines were stolen from a hospital in the northern Indian state of Haryana on April 22. But the thief, who stole 1,710 COVID-19 vaccinations from the P.P. Center General Hospital in Jind, Haryana, later had a change of heart.

“Sorry, did not know they were ‘corona medicines’,” the thief scribbled on a piece of paper, attached it to a bag, and left it near a police station around 12 hours after stealing the vials. An attendant in the Jind civil hospital was starting his usual day on April 22 morning when he noticed the storage room’s broken locks and informed the authorities.

“We came to know early in the morning when the security called,” Manjit Singh, Chief Medical Officer, Jind district, told. The thief broke into the hospital’s storage room around midnight and took a bag of vials from a medical refrigerator. There were three locks, which were found to be broken, and a bag of Covid-19 vaccines was missing. They immediately filed a complaint at the nearest police station.

Rajendra More, a senior police officer in the Jind district, told, an older man walked into the police station almost 12 hours into the incident — with the stolen bag. “An unknown man gave a bag to an old man sitting near the tea stall outside our police station and told him that it was the lunch for the head of the station,” More said.

When the police opened the bag, they found all the stolen vaccinations along with a handwritten apology note. Though the vaccine vials have been returned, it’s unlikely they can be utilized for inoculations. AstraZeneca-Oxford candidate Covishield must be stored and transported at a refrigeration temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius and Covaxin, also needs to be stored and transported at similar temperatures.

“The efficacy of the vaccine may get altered due to this [if kept outside refrigeration], and the vaccine might not work as per requirements.” “They were outside refrigeration for 15 hours and have completely lost their efficacy,” Singh told.

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