A Los Angeles clinic diluted more than 2,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and did not inform some patients until months later, according to a report.
Clinica Romero, a federally qualified health center with six Los Angeles County locations, administered roughly 2,100 faulty doses at two of its centers, county health officials said.
One man who received his booster vaccine from Clinica Romero in October 2021 was shocked when he received the clinic’s response letter in August.
“Dear Valued Patient…Clinica Romero has been made aware that we may have diluted the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines,” read the letter the patient received in August, according to L.A. Taco.
The letter informed him that his vaccine had a “lower than recommended” dose and that he should get another.
“I open it, and I’m like, what the hell?” Pedro said in an interview with the news outlet. The article did not include his last name and did not give a reason why.
“How am I getting this letter dated August 1st telling me they immediately corrected a situation that happened in October?” he added.
Pedro’s story is just coming out now, despite the fact that the county Department of Public Health has known about the issue since June 8.
Five days after finding out about the issue, health department officials conducted a site visit at the clinic.
“The issues were addressed with the medical director, the vaccine coordinator and their clinical team. No other issues were identified during the visits,” according to a department spokeswoman.
Since it was not clear if the initial shots included enough of the dose to protect against the virus, Department of Public Health nurses advised the clinic to re-administer the injections.
The clinic submitted an action plan June 14 to the Department of Public Health to address the issue.
Officials said they would set up an 800 telephone line to answer questions for patients about the issue and also set up special clinics for those who received the potentially shoddy doses.
Clinica Romero has historically served a largely immigrant population, founded in 1983 by Salvadoran immigrants to be a resource for Central American war refugees.
Its mission is to provide services for the “uninsured, insured and underserved.”
The clinic faced off with the county in 2021, when it received only 100 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine despite having 12,000 patients.
“How is 100 going to take care of the 12,000 patients and the surrounding community of 1 million?” asked Dr. Don Garcia, the clinic’s medical director. “This is embarrassing.”