Interior Health: Challenges contacting and confirming some who received ‘invalid’ COVID-19 dose in Revelstoke

Revelstoke 'invalid' COVID-19 vaccine dose re-immunization update

File photo: A COVID-19 testing centre at Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

Interior Health says about 74% of 515 people who received ‘invalid’ COVID-19 vaccine dose in Revelstoke in July have sought re-immunization, but challenges remain contacting all people who received one, including about 10% who got vaccines here but their home address is outside of B.C.

The information came in response to requests from seeking an update on Interior Health’s plan to contact those who received an invalid dose and book them for a replacement dose.

Interior Health has not been able to verify re-immunization for 133 people because they have not been able to contact them or track their re-immunization.

The news of the 515 ‘invalid’ doses came in an Aug. 24 media release from Interior Health that said 516 people received ‘invalid’ doses. The number has since been revised from 516 to 515.

The doses, all of them the Pfizer brand, were deemed invalid due to improper refrigeration. The Pfizer brand requires extremely cold refrigeration, which is tracked by the company using remote GIS temperature sensors included in the refrigerated shipments.

The invalid doses were given between July 9 and July 30, but the health authority stressed that only some of the doses delivered during that period were invalid. The health authority also said the invalid doses were not harmful and may have had some protective effect even though they were deemed invalid.

Following the announcement, Interior Health planned to follow up with those who were administered invalid doses to book them for another one.

Oct. 2 update

Interior Health says it can confirm that 382 of the 515 who received the invalid doses have “sought re-immunization,” but says challenges remain contacting and confirming re-immunization with the others.

Interior Health said a Public Health Nurse attempted to contact the affected people by telephone on Aug. 25–27 to inform them and offer new appointment times.

If the call was not answered, a message was left if a voicemail was available. The nurse followed up with two more calls and voice messages.

“Interior Health was unable to make contact with 82 out of the 515 impacted people directly over the phone, and we then sent a registered disclosure letter from Interior Health to their home address informing them of the invalid dose,” an Interior Health spokesperson said. The figure excludes the 10% of residents whose permanent address is outside of B.C.

The health authority encouraged anyone who has received notification to contact them.

About 10% of people who received doses in Revelstoke had out-of-province permanent addresses.

Interior Health estimates that about 10% of the people who received a COVID-19 dose in Revelstoke were temporarily residing in Revelstoke, but their permanent home address was listed as outside of B.C.

In a statement, an Interior Health spokesperson said this has been an issue: “Therefore, it is challenging for us to confirm if they sought re-immunization with us, in their home jurisdiction, or not at all,” Interior Health said. “When we subtract approximately 50 people (~10 %) whose out-of-province re-immunization is uncertain, we can confirm 382 of approximately 465 more easily tracked people are re-immunized.”

“We continue to encourage all of these remaining individuals, and anyone in the community not yet immunized, to seek COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible,” Interior Health said in a statement.

How to check if your dose was invalid

Although none were prepared to go on the record, several residents have contacted to say they received an invalid dose, but were not contacted. For example, they said they learned through their physician. Another said they eventually received a mail notification, but it had been delayed because it had an incorrect address.

Residents who received a Pfizer dose during the July 9 and July 30 window who have concerns can check to see if their dose was invalid by asking their physician, a nurse practitioner, or by dropping in at health units or vaccination clinics.