AHS notifying 10 people in southern Alberta their COVID-19 vaccine is 'potentially ineffective' after error

While no negative health effects are expected, Alberta Health Services is notifying 10 people about an error at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Lethbridge that could mean the vaccine they were given is ineffective.

“Alberta Health Services will be notifying 10 clients who received their Pfizer COVID-19 immunization at the Lethbridge Exhibition on April 29 that the vaccine provided to them was potentially ineffective, as only the saline water diluent, and not the actual vaccine, was administered to five of these individuals,” the health authority said in a news release on Monday.

AHS said a thorough review of what happened allowed them to zero in on a specific time frame when 10 people were immunized. While only five received saline, the health authority is contacting all 10 people who are potentially affected to rebook their appointment “out of an abundance of caution.”

The health authority said that although research looking into the potential benefits of giving people a third vaccine dose is ongoing, it does not expect the people who may be getting a third dose as a result of the error will suffer any negative health effects.

“Though there is no impact on (the) general public, we are informing the public of this case and our follow-up actions as a matter of transparency,” AHS said.

READ MORE: 6 people injected with saline instead of COVID-19 vaccine at Ontario hospital

“Manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine provide vaccine and diluent in separate vials which are mixed together by the health-care provider prior to administering the final vaccine product,” the health authority said, noting the saline solution on its own does not provide any protection against COVID-19.

The health authority said a routine audit on April 29 led to the discovery of an unused vial of vaccine.

“An investigation involving interviews with staff and a robust review of vaccine logs and electronic documentation was conducted to determine how the discrepancy could have occurred,” AHS said.

“AHS regrets that this issue has resulted in an impact to our patients and we have ensured that enhanced processes are now in place.”

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