COLORADO SPRINGS — The woman who runs the clinic where the vaccine mishandling took place in El Paso County spoke with FOX21 News on Wednesday.
Thousands of Coloradans will need to be re-vaccinated after getting their COVID-19 shots at Dr. Moma Health and Wellness Clinic in Colorado Springs, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
Dr. Sylvienash Moma, a doctoral-prepared nurse practioner, told FOX21 News reporter Lauren Scharf, “I’m here for the people, I did this for the people, I’m not ignoring the people.” But Moma said she would not make a public comment on the matter until Thursday, when she has more information from the state. Moma did not give a specific time or location.
UPDATE: When FOX21 News went to Moma’s office on Thursday, she said she has to wait and release a statement after lawyers see it. Moma plans to hold a press conference on Monday at 3 p.m. to answer questions and concerns. FOX21 News will be there.
On Wednesday, people could still sign up for a vaccine appointment on her clinic’s website. When FOX21 News went to the clinic for an appointment, Moma was behind the reception desk. She said her team would send cancelation emails to people who sign up for a vaccine.
Those who live in the building that houses the clinic, the Satellite Hotel, say the incident shows their home in a bad light. They added that many older folks live in the apartments above the clinic, and it was convenient for them to get vaccinated at Moma’s office.
“Don’t advertise that you are a physician cause people don’t know,” a woman who lives at the Satellite Hotel said. “Don’t make it out like you are a doctor when you’re not a freaking doctor.”
In Colorado, though, DNPs are allowed to prescribe, diagnose, and treat patients without physician oversight. It is also correct to refer to DNPs as “doctors.”
“She had an appointment every three minutes, and when she filled up, it was mayhem,” a patient who received the vaccine by Moma said. “Some of us were gullible to go to a day spa, but you assume the state would vet people.”
CDPHE says it verified medical licenses with the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) prior to approving providers for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.
The state has not released details into the investigation, but they did take possession of 3,150 Pfizer and Moderna doses from Dr. Moma. Of the confiscated doses, the state health department confirmed all had to be discarded. They said proper handling and temperatures had not been maintained.
“When the doctor came in, I specifically said, ‘Boy, I wouldn’t think an office like yours could have such cold storage to keep the vaccine,'” patient Heather Worby said. “She said, ‘No, they are given to us daily, and we have to thaw ’em out in the morning and distribute them.’ So I was like, ‘Okay, well that sounds logical enough.'”
The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) said Moma’s licenses with the Colorado Board of Nursing currently are in good standing. While the State Board of Nursing regulates individual healthcare providers, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has oversight over facilities such as the Dr. Moma Health and Wellness Center.
If disciplinary action is taken by the Board, then information regarding a complaint may be incorporated into documents open for inspection by the public.
“I think she breached her duty of care to her patients,” another patient said. “She put her own needs above and beyond her patients’ needs. I mean, at any moment, when she realized it was getting away from her, she could have shut it down. And say, ‘You know what, we aren’t taking any more appointments. We are going to take 20 appointments a day or whatever.’ So she could get back on track.”
Many people needing to get re-vaccinated say they are having difficulty signing up for a third shot.
Because of lack of clinical data, the CDC does not recommend people get more than three doses of any COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of validity.
“I am totally for vaccines, what I am apprehensive about is getting a third one without any clinical data to prove that it is safe and effective,” Worby said.
Worby said she got tested for antibodies Wednesday before scheduling her second vaccine. She also said she would like to see tracking information from the discarded vaccines, so she could determine if the dose she received was valid. Worby added she will not pass judgment on Moma until she learns more information about the investigation.
“I think she tried to vaccinate as many people as humanly possible because I think she got greedy,” a patient said. “I’m getting $40 per vaccine, she got too many people in, and then she got in over her head, and I think when she got more over her head, the worse it got.”
El Paso County Health Department is referring people with questions to call the state COVID-19 Hotline at Call 2-11 or (866) 760-6489. Text your ZIP CODE to 898-211 CO-HELP.
Stay with FOX21 News for the latest on this developing story.