Patients who received COVID-19 vaccinations at a Colorado Springs medical spa were frustrated and annoyed on Wednesday after learning to consider their doses invalid and to restart their series of shots.
Colorado health officials announced late Tuesday that people receiving a starting dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in the Dr. Moma Health and Wellness Clinic at the Satellite Hotel in southeast Colorado Springs, believes that dose is invalid and should begin their admissions again. Those who received two doses in the clinic should consider both void and receive an additional dose of the vaccine – 21 days after the last dose for Pfizer recipients and 28 days after that for Moderna recipients.
The state recommends patients enrolled in the Dr. Moma Clinic received a COVID-19 vaccine again with admission
"I don't like the idea of potentially having one less vaccination, but I'm not thrilled that I might have to have three vaccinations," said Elizabeth Tate, a Denver resident who traveled to Colorado Springs to get her first intake of the Pfizer vaccine in the clinic on March 26th. "Neither of these scenarios is ideal for me."
Allie Sibole was "not concerned about her health or the worsened side effects of the invalid dose in the long term", she said. The Fort Collins resident traveled to Colorado Springs to have her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the Dr. Moma Health and Wellness Clinic.
"It's frustrating, however, that I never know if my first dose was effective or not," she said, adding that it was inconvenient to schedule extra doses of the vaccine.
"Fortunately, I can do my follow-up shots here in Fort Collins," said Sibole.
Most people were only given a single dose of the vaccine at the clinic, health officials said in a press release Tuesday. The medical spa suspended its vaccination privileges and confiscated thousands of doses last Friday after El Paso County public health officials observed the clinic during the vaccination process and reported possible irregularities in the handling and storage of vaccines there.
The Colorado National Guard confiscated thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses from the Colorado Springs medical spa
After investigating the clinic's storage, handling, and recording practices, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Tuesday that it could not determine the viability of the vaccines.
However, it was unclear why the clinic was not properly storing, handling, and recording the vaccines, and the state health department did not immediately return the Gazette's request for more information on Wednesday.
"I was disappointed that so many guidelines for safe vaccinations were not followed," said Sibole. "The thought of extending the series of vaccinations for another three weeks – what will the side effects be?"
Sylvienash Moma, a PhD nurse and director of the clinic, declined to speak from her office on Wednesday but said she expected her office to release a formal statement on the matter in the coming days.
Anne Marie Pacitto, who received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at the clinic on March 31, said it was "a lot to process" knowing she needed to be vaccinated again.
"I'm speechless," she said on Wednesday after hearing the news from a Gazette reporter for the first time. Pacitto said she had received no notice from the state of what next steps to take.
"I feel like a guinea pig vaccine and I feel vulnerable," she said. "I don't think anything bad is going to happen, but this is so new and I don't know how it will affect my health."
Her next step, she said, will be to search the state and county health department websites to see where she can get additional vaccinations. "I have to take my health into my own hands and carefully examine these providers myself," she said.
Others who were vaccinated at the clinic said they weren't worried about taking multiple doses of the vaccine.
On a public Facebook page created this week for patients who received at least one COVID-19 vaccination from the Dr. Moma Health and Wellness Clinic, Mark Haselmaier wrote in a post on Wednesday morning: "My mentality from the moment I learned the vaccine was viable:" Shoot me, Doc. " And it stays that way. Shoot me, doc. Take me in, coach. "
Haselmaier said he received his first round of vaccination on April 3rd and is ready to have his restarted first round of vaccination on April 24th. He did not say which vaccine he received.
UCHealth offers online self-planning for COVID-19 vaccination appointments
"Has anyone thought that when all of this is said and done, we are actually better protected from COVID than the rest of the population?" he wrote.
The state health department said in a press release late Tuesday that the CDC does not recommend receiving more than three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine regardless of its validity due to the lack of clinical data.
It was unclear whether a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could adversely affect a person's health, although Pfizer, Inc. and BioNTech SE announced in late February that they had begun admitting the safety of a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine evaluate to understand the effects of a booster against immunity to COVID-19. "
The study uses participants from the US Phase 1 study who will give them a booster of the current vaccine six to 12 months after receiving their first two-dose therapy. This emerges from a joint press release.
Several patients at the clinic also said they were concerned after finding a number of negative reviews criticizing the vaccination clinic on Google had been removed.
But Moma said Wednesday she had no knowledge of what happened to the negative reviews.
"I have no control over what my Google reviews say," she said. “I can't call Google and tell them what to do with my reviews. I can only answer. "
Coloradans, whose appointment at the Dr. Moma Health and Wellness Clinic has been canceled and those who haven't yet received their first dose of vaccine or who need an extra shot can use the state Department of Health's online list of providers to find a new provider and schedule a vaccination appointment, officials said.
The list is available at covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/where-can-i-get-vaccinned.