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5 people in Lethbridge accidentally given saline instead of COVID-19 shot

·1 min read
A health-care worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Jan. 7, 2021. The vaccine is mixed with saline before it's administered, and Alberta Health Services says five people in Lethbridge accidentally received only saline in their shot.  (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press - image credit)
A health-care worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Jan. 7, 2021. The vaccine is mixed with saline before it's administered, and Alberta Health Services says five people in Lethbridge accidentally received only saline in their shot. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press - image credit)

Alberta Health Services says it is notifying 10 people that they will need to be rebooked for a COVID-19 vaccine shortly, as five individuals in that group were mistakenly given a saline diluent and not the vaccine.

The mix-up happened on April 29, at Lethbridge's Exhibition Park.

AHS said during its routine audit at the end of the day, a single unused vial of vaccine was found. AHS investigated by interviewing staff and reviewing vaccine logs, and found that five people who received their shot during a period of time when 10 people were immunized only got saline.

"Out of an abundance of caution, AHS will be directly contacting all 10 potentially impacted individuals to rebook their immunization appointment," AHS said in a statement on Monday.

Saline and the COVID-19 vaccine come in separate vials, which are mixed together before a shot is administered.

Saline isn't dangerous — but it does mean that those people weren't protected from COVID-19.

AHS said the impacted members of that group will all be given a second dose at least 21 days after their first shot, and that they'll receive a third dose in case they only received saline for their first.

The mix-up has no impact on the general public, and AHS said it's providing the information out of transparency.

AHS said it regrets the issue resulted in an impact to patients, and has ensured enhanced processes are now in place.

A total of 42.2 per cent of Albertans have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

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