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At least 3 people wrongly given COVID shots at military base

A Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered at the Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Wash. (U.S. Army photo by John Wayne Liston)
October 27, 2021

At least three people, and potentially more, were wrongly given COVID-19 vaccine shots instead of an entirely different vaccine at the Lewis Main Exchange at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington, reports first revealed this week.

The U.S. Army is currently investigating the incident. In an emailed statement to Army Times on Tuesday, I Corps Public Affairs Col. Joey Sullinger said, “Joint Base Lewis-McChord is aware three people were inadvertently administered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine instead of another vaccine at the Lewis Main Exchange.”

“Positive corrective action has been taken at this vaccination site to prevent such errors from happening again,” Sullinger added in his statement. “Army medical professionals are notifying and ensuring the health and welfare of those affected. This incident is under investigation.”

The Army has not released the identities of the people involved, including the three people it determined had been incorrectly given the COVID-19 vaccine shot.

While Sullinger put the number of people wrongly given the Pfizer version of the COVID-19 vaccine at three people, the true number may be higher.

On Tuesday, the military social media profile TerminalCWO — which regularly publishes whistleblower allegations from within the active military community — tweeted, “JBLM had a flu shot tent set up and injected ‘a lot’ of people with the Covid vaccine ‘accidentally’ according to a reliable source. So now we’re not only incapable of distinguishing between FDA approved and EUA, but apparently we can’t even get the correct drug either.”

Army Times noted the TerminalCWO was the first to report the base’s wrongful administering of the COVID-19 vaccine shots but reported that representatives for the account have not shared their sourcing for the claim.

TerminalCWO’s comment about FDA approval and EUA appears to refer to a contention that while the FDA has granted approval to Pfizer’s “Comirnaty” vaccine, that vaccine is distinct from the unnamed Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that has been available for nearly a year under an emergency use authorization. That issue is at the heart of at least one lawsuit, filed on behalf of 18 U.S. service members, the “Comirnaty” vaccine is not available in the U.S. and because the military’s vaccine mandates specifically call for service members to receive FDA-approved vaccine doses, those service members cannot be compelled to take the vaccine as mandated by the military.

This incident of the incorrect vaccine shots being administered at JBLM comes as each military branch’s respective COVID-19 vaccination deadlines are approaching. The Army’s deadline for active members to fully vaccinate against COVID-19 is December 15. Active Sailors and Marines must be fully vaccinated by November 28 while active Air Force airmen must be fully vaccinated by November 2.