Over 500 people in B.C.'s Interior need to retake their vaccine because of improper storage

·1 min read
People who received an incorrectly stored dose of COVID-19 vaccine are being individually contacted by Interior Health.  (Mike Simons/Tulsa World/The Associated Press - image credit)
People who received an incorrectly stored dose of COVID-19 vaccine are being individually contacted by Interior Health. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World/The Associated Press - image credit)

Over 500 people will have to get their COVID-19 vaccine redone in Revelstoke, B.C., after health workers discovered that the doses of vaccine they were administered were stored in an incorrect freezer, said Interior Health.

The doses were stored at –20C as opposed to –80C, said Dr. Carol Fenton, a medical health officer with Interior Health.

The improperly stored vaccine was used as 15 first doses and 501 second doses. People who received these shots are being individually contacted by Interior Health and they are being offered another dose.

Interior Health says there is no risk in receiving an invalid dose of vaccine.

"It may be that it is perfectly fine," said Dr. Fenton. "But [we] can't guarantee the effectiveness so just to be sure, we're offering new doses."

B.C.'s Interior region is a COVID-19 hotspot, and health officials have reintroduced public health measures — like shutting nightclubs, limiting restaurant dining, restricting the size of social gatherings and reimposing a mask mandate — in an attempt to curb the spread of the delta variant.

None of the individuals who got the incorrect dose has contracted COVID-19 since their immunization, says Interior Health.

Dr. Fenton says the discrepancy was found during a routine quality control check. She says efforts are being made to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"We have great staff who are reviewing this all the time," she said. "We have redoubled our efforts to make sure everyone knows the correct storage requirements for the vaccine to minimize the chance of this error again."

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