The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror

Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

No unused COVID-19 vaccines are going to waste at the end of the day at Vancouver Island vaccination clinics, according to Dr. Michael Benusic the physician lead for mass immunization planning for Island Health.

Benusic gave that firm reassurance after being informed of rumours circulating that unused vaccines at the end of the day were being thrown out.

“That’s pretty much getting it exactly opposite in terms of what happens with the doses that are left over,” Dr. Benusic said. “The primary objective we have with doses that are left over at the end of the day is to minimize vaccine wastage as much as possible. We know how precious every drop of vaccine is.”

Vaccines are administered under the province’s vaccination protocol. Getting an appointment is a crucial factor in the daily rollout of vaccine doses. Every one is spoken for but if, at the end of the day, there is a dose leftover, there is a plan in place to give it to somebody else.

RELATED: Campbell River Community Centre gym converted to COVID-19 vaccination clinic

Two objectives guide what happens with leftover doses, Dr. Benusic said. The first is to minimize vaccine wastage as much as possible and the second is to provide it to people who are currently eligible in the phase of the provincial rollout, of which we are now in Phase 3.

“The vast majority of times, we meet both of those goals,” he said, “that we ensure that vaccine’s not wasted and we provide to people who are within the population who’s eligible.”

Each vaccination site has a long list of who those eligible populations are and how to get ahold of them. For example, paramedics have a dispatch and there is an opportunity to make sure if there is, for example, people who are understaffed in long-term care, they can come in and get a vaccination in their place.

The process also involves going to VIHA’s call centre and even to Dr. Benusic if there are any concerns and if they can’t find someone at the last-minute.

“There’s times when, if they absolutely cannot find anyone who is on that current priority list…we would stick to our objectives – with the primary objective being to minimize vaccine wastage – to provide it to someone who may be on the cusp of eligibility,” Benusic said. “So,you know, instead of being right now…the 70-year-olds can book it, so we pick up a 69-year-old.

“Sometimes we do move out of that because, again, we’d rather have a vaccine in a 69-year-old’s arm than a vaccine down the drain.”

Benusic said they’re very careful to ensure they don’t have vaccines left over because the issue with the vaccines is they have a very short shelf life. Once a vial is cracked open it has to be used before the morning.

Dr. Benusic also cautioned people to not show up to clinics at the end of the day hoping to get a surplus vaccine because “they are few and far between” because they really try to make sure if they’re going to open a vial, they have enough people for it.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry affirmed that thought in her April 8 provincial media briefing.

“Don’t line up unless you have been asked to come,” she said in response to a media question about “vaccine hunters” who travel the Lower Mainland looking for clinics with leftover doses. “There is a plan on a daily basis.”

RELATED: Don’t line up for vaccines unless asked to come, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

One of the plans Dr. Henry mentioned is to take any “end of day” doses to hospital emergency departments.

Dr. Benusic reaffirmed the concept that there is a plan in place to ensure there are no leftovers and, if there are, to get them to next person in line, in terms of eligibility.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

RELATED: WHO chief describes ‘shocking’ vaccine imbalance between nations


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverCoronavirusvaccines

Just Posted

Robert’s column
Robert Barron Column: Poachers in forest reserve should be treated harshly

‘Poachers need to be rounded up and prosecuted as soon as possible’

Can you dig it? Crofton In Bloom volunteers certainly can. From left: Trayci Lepp, Tony Lamley, Bonnie Lamley, Mary Patient and Jane Grueber. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Community pride grows from volunteer group’s beautification efforts

All ages contribute to Crofton In Bloom’s objectives

An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: This mother is grinning and bearing it

News broke the other day that, after months in hibernation, Grouse Mountain’s… Continue reading

An online cooking lesson with Ian Blom, the Red Seal Chef from the Ainslie Restaurant, is one of the items on auction in a fundraiser for the Duncan Curling Club and other causes. (Submitted photo)
Online action being held to assist Duncan Curling Club and other causes

Auction, run by the Duncan Rotary Club, closes May 22

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read