Vancouver man mistakenly told he'd already received first COVID-19 vaccine

When 48-year-old Sean Galway qualified for age-based vaccination last week, the father of two immediately registered and waited to be contacted to book his appointment.

When he didn’t hear back, he called the vaccination hotline on Monday.

“The agent said, so it looks like you’re slated to get your second vaccine, the forecast is sometime in July,” said Galway. “And that’s when I stopped and said, say that again?”

He’s still waiting to receive his first dose. But the booking agent told him immunization records showed he had already received the Pfizer vaccine, sometime before April 24.

Galway immediately suspected the source of the problem. His elderly father who lives in Ontario was staying with his son’s family in April, and was able to get vaccinated in B.C. The two men share the same first and last name, and it appeared the government believed the dose the elder Galway received had instead gone to his son.

“That’s my theory, yet no front line agent is able to access that information, no front line agent is able to talk about that, its all confidential,” Galway said. “And my question was, how to I fix this?”

Several vaccine booking agents told Galway he would be contacted about the problem, but when he didn’t hear back, he reached out to CTV News. In a statement, the Health Ministry confirmed what Galway suspected was the reason for the mix up, saying:

“It appeared from the system that the caller had already received his first dose. This was due to an error where the father reported the same name and address as the son, and thus the immunization record was attributed to the caller.”

The statement goes on to say an incident ticket has been created, and Galway should be able to book his first dose by Wednesday morning.

He’s relieved he will be able to schedule his vaccine, but he’s concerned the statement appears to place some blame on his elderly father, and hopes the next person who has a problem won’t have to reach out to the media to get a response.

“I don’t fault the people involved or the system, but as with any system it needs checks and balances, and the ability to address a mistake when a mistake is identified,” Galway said.

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