No wasted COVID-19 vaccine doses in Ottawa

OTTAWA — No doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been wasted or thrown out in Ottawa since inoculations began nearly three months ago.

The Ottawa Hospital and Ottawa Public Health tell CTV News Ottawa all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been used since the first doses arrived in December.

CTV News Toronto reported this week that the Ontario government reported at least 1,500 of the 1,092,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were wasted since Dec. 14. Freezer failures, damaged vials and administrative issues were blamed for the vaccine wastage.

Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard shows 71,180 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna doses have arrived in Ottawa since Dec. 14. As of Saturday, 57,670 doses have been administered. On Friday, the city opened the first pop-up vaccination clinic to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents over 80 in high-risk neighbourhoods.

Both the Ottawa Hospital and Ottawa Public Health say if there are any unused doses at the end of the day, steps are taken to ensure they’re given to health care workers or individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“In the event that a COVID vaccine dose cannot be administered by the end of the day at a scheduled vaccine clinic due to cancellations or other similar circumstances, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has a process to ensure that an eligible individual is found to receive the vaccine in a timely manner as directed by the provincial prioritization to prevent vaccine wastage,” said a statement from Ottawa Public Health to CTV News Ottawa.

“Since the start of the COVID vaccination campaign, OPH has not wasted any vaccine doses.”

An Ottawa Hospital spokesperson tells CTV News Ottawa the same process in place at the hospital to ensure no doses go to waste.

If we have ‘unused’ doses at the end of the day (due to cancellations, for example), we ensure that they are given to health-care workers who work in high-risk areas within The Ottawa Hospital (such as Emergency Departments, ICU, COVID-19 units, etc.),” said a statement from the Ottawa Hospital.

“The Ottawa Hospital has never thrown away any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Ottawa Public Health has said staff have been able to draw a sixth dose from the Pfizer-BioNTech vials, instead of the five doses listed on the label.

In January, Ottawa Paramedic Chief Pierre Poirier told CTV News Ottawa that because five or six doses could be drawn from the Pfizer COVID-19 vials, approximately 400 paramedics and staff members had received the first dose of the vaccine.

With files from CTV’s Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Colin D’Mello

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