A New York City urgent care operator is being sued by a former employee who says he was instructed by upper management to over-dilute COVID-19 vaccine in order to stretch the supply, and subsequently fired when he and other employees complained about the alleged scheme. The  company, which runs several vaccination sites in the borough of Queens, denies issuing any such instructions to its vaccinators. What’s alleged, however, is that they were told to use between 1.9 mL and 2 mL of dilutant per vial, rather than the maximum of 1.8 mL of dilutant per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in order to get at least one extra dose out of each vial in their supply. An immunologist interviewed by CBS local news in New York confirmed that over-diluting a vaccine in this manner would diminish its effectiveness. The New York City Department of Health, while not commenting on the allegations directly, said it has made an unannounced inspection of at least one of the vaccination sites and found no evidence of impropriety. While the facts of this case remain in dispute at this point, it’s a reminder that whistleblower lawsuits never go the operator’s way. Even if they’re cleared of wrongdoing in court, the headlines alleging wrongdoing have all been seen. The best way to avoid such situations (in addition to running an ethical practice, of course) is to maintain good lines of communication with your staff. JUCM published an article that might be of help. Read What Exactly Are Whistleblower Lawsuits—and How Can You Protect Your Urgent Care Operation? to learn more.

Sour Grapes or a Breach of Ethics (and Patient Trust)? Either Way, Whistleblower Charges Sting