HERRIMAN, Utah (KUTV) — A Utah pharmacist has been disciplined by the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing for allegedly preparing and giving out a completed COVID-19 vaccination card without administering the vaccine to a patient.
In a disciplinary stipulation order filed with DOPL on Monday, pharmacist Bruce F. Whatcott admitted to seeing a "reluctant patient" in June who was seeking the COVID-19 vaccine at the request of their employer because that patient's job included travel.
Whatcott allowed a pharmacy technician to counsel the patient on alleged and unconfirmed adverse reactions to receiving the vaccination, including that the vaccine could "cause infertility." Whatcott did not correct this misinformation, according to the order.
The disciplinary order states that Whatcott then spoke with the patient in a counsel room off camera. Afterward, Whatcott is seen on camera leaving the room and entering the pharmacy. Whatcott took out a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine vial from the pharmacy fridge and prepared a COVID vaccine card adding the vial's lot number, but did not prepare a syringe or administer the vaccine to the patient.
Whatcott later admitted to his employer that he completed the COVID vaccine card and gave it to the patient, defending his actions by "stating that he was giving a reluctant patient 'a choice.'"
According the the disciplinary order, Whatcott also admitted to giving out completed COVID vaccine cards on other occasions, stating that he gave completed cards to a "handful of others," "maybe five" when he felt the patient was apprehensive about getting the vaccine.
The order states that Whatcott's actions were harmful to the patient and others because he misrepresented the patient as vaccinated, putting the patient and others around the patient at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Since the COVID vaccine cards contain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seal, Whatcott's actions were an unauthorized use of an official government agency's seal — a violation of Utah law and punishable by up to five years in prison.
As part of his disciplinary action, Whatcott surrendered his license to practice as a pharmacist in the state of Utah and agreed to pay a $2,000 fine.
Whatcott was first licensed as a pharmacist in Herriman, Utah in August of 1987.