Nurse detained for pocketing COVID-19 vaccines at Detroit's TCF Center, city official says

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — A nurse practitioner was detained by Detroit police Monday after allegedly pocketing two doses of COVID-19 vaccine at downtown's TCF Center.

A member of the medical staff at the center saw the woman take the two syringes of the Moderna vaccine and immediately reported it, Detroit Chief Operating Officer Hakim Berry said. Officers on site stopped the suspect before she made her way out of the facility, he said.

The digital marquee in front of the TCF Center in downtown Detroit promotes making an appointment for Detroiters to get their COVID-19 shots.

The nurse is employed by one of three staffing firms that the city contracts with. Berry declined to name the company, citing an ongoing police investigation into the matter.

"It was really shocking. We have really tight controls with the security of the vaccine, from our central storage facility all the way to TCF and our handling and accounting of our vaccines by the hour at the beginning and end of the day," Berry said. "Even when you administer a vaccine within the facility, we have a chain of custody form you have to sign off for."

About 200 staff are on-site daily and include police officers, the center's traffic management team, medical and pharmacy workers and support staff, he said.

The doses were provided to Detroit's Health Department by the federal government. 

Detroit police Chief James Craig confirmed to The Detroit News on Tuesday that the department is continuing to investigate. 

The TCF Center first began administering the COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 13. To date, about 109,000 people have been vaccinated there. 

Berry stressed Tuesday that officials believe the protocols in place at the vaccine site are successful.

"No one missed getting a dose because of this incident," he said. "We have enough vaccine on hand. There was no cancellation of an appointment."