Saugeen First Nation residents receive expired vaccine

In a very recent letter from Indigenous Service Canada (ISC), it was explained to Saugeen First Nation that some residents had received doses of Pfizer COVID-19 that had expired.

Apparently, the expired vaccine was administered between August 13th and September 9th to an undisclosed number of residents.  The department (ISC) was informed of the “potential vaccine error” on September 15th.

According to the letter, ISC has attempted to contact the affected individuals to inform them about the vaccine error and addressed any questions or concerns and will continue to try to reach those impacted.

Unfortunately, those who received the vaccine are not considered fully vaccinated and are recommended to be re-immunized as soon as possible as the province’s storage and handling experts consider the outdate vaccine invalid.

The whole situation is communicated through Indigenous Services Canada but, of recent weeks, there have been no cases reported at Saugeen First Nation and, according to the ISC letter, the expired vaccine poses no health risks.

In a memo sent out to residents, SFN COVID-19 Coordinator Tara Campbell made the following conclusions:

  •  A vaccine shipment from public health was received on July 13, 2021. The expiration date on the vials said October 2021.
  •  An expiration date is only valid if the vials remain frozen
  •  When the vaccine is thawed and stored in a cool but not frozen state it is only good for 31 days
  •  SFN says that the ISC stored this shipment in a thawed state meaning it was set to expire on Aug. 9 not October.
  •  The expiration date was adjusted on the box but not on the vials as replacing vial dates was not ISC protocol
  •  Those administering the doses were checking the vial dates rather than the date on the box
  •  SFN, including COVID-19 response staff, were not responsible for the handling of the vaccines