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Coronavirus

Puerto Rico Pharmacy Owner Pleads Guilty to Vaccinating Kids

September 28, 2021

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A pharmacy owner in Puerto Rico has pleaded guilty to illegally vaccinating two dozen children against COVID-19 with shots that had not been approved as safe for that age group, federal authorities said Monday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Liz Ann Banchs fully inoculated minors between the ages of 7 and 11 with the Pfizer vaccine from late May until late June.

The vaccine is currently approved for those 12 years and older, though Pfizer announced last week that a version of its vaccine, with much-reduced doses, is safe and works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will soon seek U.S. authorization for that age group.

Authorities said the illegal vaccination occurred at Farmacia Gabriela, Inc. in the southern mountain town of Juana Diaz. They said Banchs faces up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

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