COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A lack of vaccine coolers and temperature logs, trays set out with vaccines with no visible labels, no waiting areas and a lack of COVID-19 safety measures were among the issues noted by an El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) employee in a report detailing an April 9 visit to the Dr. Moma Health & Wellness Clinic.
The concerns from the employee and her administrative coordinator prompted the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to shut down the vaccine provider for mishandling vaccine doses and forced thousands to be revaccinated.
At a Monday news conference, Elizabeth Higgins, a spokesperson for the Dr. Moma clinic, said the clinic was working with health agencies in their investigation and couldn't address specific concerns while the investigation was ongoing.
According to the EPCPH employee's report, the Dr. Moma clinic is a day spa located on the first floor of a hotel, and the business is owned and operated by Sylvienash Moma, a nurse practitioner.
Moma said after the news conference on Monday that the clinic was doing its due diligence to work with the state to address the issues raised in the report.
"That's why we're here today, to let the people know that we are not silent," she said. "We are working with every agency to make sure we resolve the allegations."
When asked what she would tell the people who received a COVID-19 vaccination at her clinic, Moma said they should follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The EPCPH pop-in visit occurred after members of the community shared concerns to EPCPH about COVID-19 vaccinations taking place at the Dr. Moma clinic.
According to the health department, the county employee noticed more than 1,400 appointments scheduled on April 9. Because it seemed unlikely that the size of the facility could support that many appointments, the department said she visited the facility that afternoon.
The employee's report says there were several trays loaded with filled syringes in a pile and a bowl with vaccines in it on a desk. The employee stated she did not see any temperature logs or vaccine coolers. The report says the syringes were not labeled.
"People were coming both directions up the hall," the note says. "It was very confusing and chaotic. At one point, I assisted with traffic control."
The county health employee also reported that patients were told they could sit in their cars after receiving the shot – facilities giving vaccines are supposed to provide a waiting area where patients can be monitored for 15 minutes. When asked who was observing the patients, the report says Moma explained there was a nurse with an Epi-pen driving around.
"During the time we were there, we did not see anyone driving around that was noticeable," the report says. "I asked Dr. Moma how patients would know how to get ahold of the nurse, and she stated, 'They would just come back in the building.'"
The employee's report says patients could sit in the registration area if they needed to be observed for 30 minutes. The report says there was no medical staff in that area and people left when they wanted.
Other concerns, according to the report, included a lack of COVID-19 prevention measures in place, such as masking and social distancing.
The two staff members from EPCPH reported these concerns to CDPHE on that same day.
On April 9, CDPHE paused administration of COVID-19 vaccines at the Dr. Moma clinic as a result of irregularities in vaccine storage and handling. A few days later, the state announced it wanted anyone who received a COVID-19 vaccine at the Dr. Moma vaccination clinic to be "offered revaccination."
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