A person faces grand theft charges after stealing more than $2,000 worth of COVID-19 vaccines from a Cape Coral business.
According to the police report, on Wednesday, just after 3 p.m., an officer was called to Physicians’ Primary Care of Southwest Florida on Viscaya Parkway about a theft.
The officer found that 10 vials of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine stored in a refrigerator were missing.
A person at the business told police that vials were placed in the refrigerator on April 1, and when they went to get them out six days later they were missing.
The 10 vials with five doses each are worth $2,250 at $45 per dose.
Security has increased drastically over the nearly two decades T.J. DePaola of Cypress Pharmacy has been a pharmacist, and he says protecting the vaccine doses his pharmacy receives will be no different.
“Right now, it’s so valuable that you have to protect it,” DePaola said. “It’s so hard to get that … You want to make sure that take care of it. You not only keep it safe in the case of theft.”
“My concern is do they know how to administer it? Do they have the proper needles?” DePaola said. “Where are these doses even going to go?”
Although the cost of the vaccines stolen is over $2,000, people in the community say the real cost of what was taken is much greater.
“You want like your mother and the older people to be around longer? Like have them go get a vaccination,” Tammi Sutherland said. “That could have been their dose, but it’s missing now, so they can’t go and get that vaccination.”
Others don’t understand why someone would steal them now when everyone 16 and older is able to get vaccinated.
“To do it at this point, there’s so many that had already gotten the shot,” Holly Carroll said. “I think it’s more about money. I don’t think it’s about skipping the line.”
Fingerprints were taken from the scene, and the case was turned over to detectives. No suspects have been named.
Physicians’ Primary Care said in a statement: “Physicians’ Primary Care found COVID-19 vaccine missing from one of its Cape Coral locations. The Cape Coral Police were immediately notified and are investigating. We are taking this theft very seriously. Unfortunately, this means that the missing vaccines will not make it into the arms of our patients who need them.”
Whoever is responsible, DePaola has a message for them.
“You’re taking it away from somebody that really needs it and is going to be protected by it,” DePaola said.