KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County will pay an external auditing firm approximately $30 thousand to review how the health department handles vaccine shipments after employees mistakenly threw away 975 doses of Pfizer vaccine in late January, a contract showed.
The county signed the agreement with accounting firm Pugh to interview Knox Co. Health Department employees, examine how the department accounts for vaccine inventory and assess the sufficiency of existing procedures.
Auditors will also "identify strengths and deficiencies in the supply chain operations, accountability and management of inventory items and supplies."
The firm, which has an existing relationship with the county government, estimates the review will take 200 project hours, the agreement said. The billable rate works out to be about $150 per hour.
In mid-March, the District Attorney General announced no criminal activity was found during a Knoxville Police investigation into the missing vaccine doses.
The KPD investigation said it appears the box of vaccine was accidentally thrown away after being mistaken for a box of dry ice, as KCHD initially reported.
Surveillance video, obtained by 10News through a public records request, shows workers accepting a FedEx delivery—and later throwing the box into the dumpster.
The Pugh audit will review supply chain operations for inventory and medical supplies received by KCHD from January 1 to March 31. Auditors will submit a written report of their findings upon the conclusion of the investigation.