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Niagara Region Public Health connects with clients as vaccine administration concern affects six people

On June 16, six individuals received an injection of harmless saline diluent instead of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Niagara Region Public Health clinic in Port Colborne. Out of an abundance of caution, Public Health is currently contacting 205 clients who had an appointment on that day to book a repeat vaccination. Only those clients contacted directly by Public Health are considered potentially impacted.
 
Clinic management acted immediately when the end-of-day audit identified that six extra doses were administered which were not accounted for in the number of vaccine vials prepared for clinic. With one additional vial of saline diluent used as compared to vaccine vials, this suggested that diluent was administered to some clients without mixing it with the vaccine. A proactive in-depth review followed to investigate, identify, and follow-up with those affected.
 
Although there is no impact on the public generally, Niagara Region Public Health understands the importance of open and transparent communication in sharing these details with the broader Niagara community.
 
The safety and well-being of the clients we serve is of the utmost importance. We deeply regret this error, and want to reassure the public that immediate corrective measures have been taken. This includes additional checks in our processes to catch such errors, additional training of staff, and new documentation to track doses from the freezer to the client.
 
What is saline diluent?
 
The Pfizer vaccine comes in two parts. The vaccine concentrate and the saline diluent come in separate vials, which are carefully mixed together before the vaccine is administered. This mixing takes place in the vaccine preparation area before the doses are taken to the nursing stations for use. There are no anticipated health effects from receiving the saline diluent only; however, the saline diluent does not protect individuals against COVID-19.
 
Rescheduled dose for impacted individuals
 
All impacted individuals are being scheduled for a repeat vaccination within the appropriate interval. Some of these clients will be receiving a third dose. Receiving a third dose of vaccine is safe, though it does not provide significant benefit.  
 
Information about COVID-19, vaccine, and Public Health vaccination efforts can be found on our vaccination webpage.

Media Inquiries

Kerri Stoakley
Niagara Region Public Health
905-688-8248 ext. 7303
kerri.stoakley@niagararegion.ca


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