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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

Cowichan Valley WildSafeBC coordinator Amanda Crowston teaches a Grade 5/6 class at Ecole Cobble Hill last fall. (Submitted)
The bears are back in town and so is WildSafeBC

The bears are back in town so keep an eye out, reminds… Continue reading

North Cowichan has heated exchange over timelines of its official community plan review. (File photo)
North Cowichan’s OCP review divides council

Tight timelines leads to heated debate

Matt Ellison was a star with the Kerry Park Islanders before embarking on a pro career that included stops in the NHL and KHL. (Submitted)
Ex-NHLers to highlight Kerry Park-Peninsula alumni games

Matt Ellison and Kyle Greentree commit to suit up in August

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

Most Read