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In this April 19, 2021, file photo Dr. Sylvienash Moma, second left, with hands clasped, declines to speak with the media, outside the Dr. Moma Health & Wellness Clinic at the Satellite Hotel in Colorado Springs to address questions that the clinic allegedly improperly stored vaccines, prompting a state investigation. (Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette via AP, File)

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has barred the Dr. Moma Health & Wellness Center in Colorado Springs from providing any more coronavirus vaccines through the federal COVID-19 vaccination program.

The decision, announced Friday morning, comes after a months-long investigation that found clinic workers failed to properly handle and store their allotment of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a news release from CDPHE. 

More specifically, clinic employees did not monitor storage unit temperatures for vaccines at all times and failed to use equipment and practices that comply with guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the news release said.

The clinic was suspended from offering any more COVID vaccines in early April after El Paso County Public Health officials alerted the Colorado Joint Vaccine Task Force about the clinic’s failure to comply with storage protocols.

“(They) are being removed from the COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Program and we will not be re-engaging with them on vaccine work,” Scott Bookman, CDPHE’s COVID-19 incident commander, said Friday afternoon at a media briefing.

It is unclear if the Colorado Medical Board, which regulates doctors and other licensed health providers, or any other state or federal agency will take action against Dr. Moma clinic leaders. Monoclonal antibody treatment, a treatment for COVID-19, is still occurring at the Dr. Moma Health & Wellness Center. That program is controlled by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The El Paso County clinic — which typically offers medical aesthetic services, such as Botox injections, laser hair removal, acne treatment and tattoo removal — has also failed to comply with safe immunization practices by not abiding by social distancing protocols or mask requirements at the clinic, according to CDPHE. Wellness clinic leaders have also not complied with billing requirements outlined in the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Provider Agreement.

Four days after the CDPHE suspended the clinic from administering vaccines in early April, CDPHE and the CDC released guidance saying anyone who received a vaccine from a Dr. Moma clinic should be revaccinated elsewhere, due to the clinic’s improper storage and handling of the vaccine. People who received a vaccine there were given a list of other clinics where they could get a new shot.

The U.S. has seen a steady decline in COVID-19 cases over the last week. But in Colorado, there’s “more of a plateau” in coronavirus cases, said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist for CDPHE during the Friday coronavirus briefing.

Unvaccinated Coloradans looking to get the shot should visit the CDPHE website for more information on where to get vaccinated.

Tatiana Flowers is the equity and general assignment reporter for the Colorado Sun and her work is funded by a grant from the Colorado Trust. She has covered crime and courts plus education and health in Colorado, Connecticut, Israel and Morocco....