Because of an error, according to a news release from the Boone County Health Department, 42 people in the county received COVID-19 antibodies Wednesday, instead of vaccinations.
All 42 people received the mistaken shots at a clinic run by the health department. They were made aware of the situation Thursday and provided with actual vaccines.
According to the release, health department leaders do not believe there is any risk of harm for the people affected. They also said this was an isolated incident.
Attempts to contact officials at the health department were unsuccessful.
The error occurred as health departments and doctors’ offices across the state were flooded with calls and visits Wednesday after Gov. Jim Justice announced that COVID-19 vaccines would be available for anyone age 80 and older.
While health departments do have vaccines on hand, those looking to receive them should call ahead to make appointments.
Antibodies are large proteins in the body used by the immune system to identify and neutralize viruses. Through blood samples from patients, antibody tests can be used to see whether someone has, at some point, been infected with the virus.
Antibody treatments are not the same as vaccines, but they can help people better fight the virus, if they’re administered early.
Throughout the past two weeks, Justice has said he wants more antibody doses accessible in the state, because they can help save lives.
As of Thursday, there have been 85,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia, 24,488 of which are active, and 1,338 COVID-19 related deaths.
So far, the state has received 86,800 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 44,885 of which have been distributed.
West Virginia is in the process of releasing details for upcoming vaccination events for those 80 years old and older, which should be held at National Guard armories throughout next week, but those details have not yet been released.