B.C. health officials assure there have been no “serious concerns” around vaccine doses being wasted since the rollout started in the province.
During her COVID-19 update on Monday Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked whether there had been any issues with doses going to waste due to mishandling.
“No, so far so good,” she said in response. “We put a lot of time and effort into making sure we had people trained, that we had the infrastructure in place.”
The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at sub zero temperatures, and once thawed for use they must be discarded after six hours. Doses cannot be refrozen.
“That is one of the things that we record quite carefully, vaccine wastage,” Henry said. “We have not had any serious concerns with vaccine wastage and there's a process in each health authority for once the doses are coming up to the end of the six hour period.”
Vaccinations are currently rolled out by appointment in B.C. Henry says if there are still doses remaining at the conclusion of the scheduled appointments, health authorities make sure they have other people on the priority list who are able to come in and receive the vaccine.
In terms of vaccine allocation, Health Minister Adrian Dix says B.C. has “essentially used up all” of the Pfizer doses and “allocated or used” all of the Moderna doses. He says the provincial government is working with those at a federal level to get more doses this week.
“It's not criticism of anybody that we're out of vaccine, it just happens to be because we've used it a lot,” Dix said. “We're out of vaccine for a short period, and then we'll have hopefully quite a bit more.”
Henry added that shipments will be arriving in B.C. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.
As for the country’s vaccine stock, on Tuesday morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada had secured an extra 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with the first deliveries of some of these doses expected in April at the earliest.