Alberta has not seen widespread wastage of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to a joint statement by Minister of Health Tyler Shandro and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, a minimal amount of the vaccine is being lost when drawing doses or if a vial is dropped or spilled.
“While this is upsetting, it is unavoidable. It is also extremely limited thanks to the processes in place. In fact, the COVID-19 immunization program to date has had significantly less wastage per administered dose than what occurs in a typical influenza immunization program,” the statement read.
In the statement, the province claims that only 0.3 per cent of the vaccine doses have been wasted. In a typical immunization distribution program, nearly 6 per cent of the doses are wasted.
Alberta Health Services noted in a tweet that only 86 of the 26,216 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered have been considered wasted.
The statement appeared to be a response to a tweet from Dr. Tehseen Ladha, who tweeted Monday that healthcare workers had been advised to discard unused doses of the vaccine.
BREAKING: UNUSED doses of COVID-19 vaccine in opened vials are being DISCARDED at the end of the day. Alberta Health has directed staff to WASTE the vaccine rather than administer to people not in phase 1a of the rollout. Yet another massive failure in our #COVID19AB response.
— Dr. Tehseen Ladha (@TehseenLadha) January 5, 2021
“UNUSED doses of COVID-19 vaccine in opened vials are being DISCARDED at the end of the day. Alberta Health has directed staff to WASTE the vaccine rather than administer to people not in phase 1a of the rollout,” Ladha wrote in her tweet Monday night.
The tweet has been retweeted 3,500 times and has 10,000 likes.
In the statement, the government explained that doses are thawed and prepared according to pre-scheduled appointments, and appointments are overbooked to make sure no dose is wasted.
In a scenario where no appointments are left and there are still thawed doses available, health care workers are being instructed to administer the vaccine to each other. The vaccine cannot be re-frozen.