Expired vaccine doses given at Shoppers Drug Mart leave Ontario man with questions

TORONTO – A man from Ontario says he feels confused and frustrated after he was one of 12 people vaccinated with an expired COVID-19 vaccine dose at a Vaughan Shoppers Drug Mart last week.

Sina Copur said he visited Shoppers Drug Mart at 9200 Weston Road on November 16 to receive his second dose of COVID-19 vaccination.

The appointment went smoothly, but the next day he said he received a call from the pharmacist informing him that he had been vaccinated with an expired dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“After I got my shot, everything was okay – I left the store after 15 minutes,” Copur told CTV News Toronto on Thursday. “The next day, Wednesday, the owner of the pharmacy called me and he told me ‘We’m so sorry, but the COVID-19 vaccine had expired’.”

Copur said his first concerns were about his health.

“First, I asked a few questions about the future results of the expired vaccination on my health,” he said. “[The pharmacist] told me that York Public Health (YPH) would contact me as soon as possible. “

When YPH reached for comment, YPH confirmed that between kl. 10:00 and 16:00 on 16 November, 12 people received vaccine doses that had expired the day before.

“The Shoppers Drug Mart location has tried to contact all 12 people to warn them of the error,” York region spokeswoman Melissa Pinto told CTV News Toronto in a statement Thursday.

Copur said that the day after the pharmacy informed him of his expired dose, public health contacted him and stated that they were in the process of contacting the Pfizer manufacturers and that it would take up to three business days to hear back.

Still, Copur said hours later that he received another call from the pharmacy owner telling him that he himself had been able to reach Pfizer and that the dose had been confirmed as “valid”.

“He told me the vaccination is valid, that nothing would happen to my health,” he said.

Copur said the timeline for the correspondence confused him.

“Public health tells me that Pfizer will get back to them in three business days, but the owner of the pharmacy just got in touch with Pfizer in a few hours and called me back,” he said. “So I was not happy with the responses from both the public health unit and the pharmacy owner.”

York Public Health told CTV News Toronto that they sent a “request for an assessment of the vaccine’s viability” to Pfizer immediately after being warned of the situation, which concluded, “that the quality and integrity of the vaccine would not be affected in this scenario. “

Copur says he has not received correspondence from York Public Health since their first phone call, leaving him with more questions than answers.

When she reached for a comment, Loblaws, the parent company of Shoppers Drug Mart, confirmed the incident to CTV News Toronto.

“This was an isolated incident in the store where a vaccine was given one day after its expiration date,” Loblaws Public Relations said in a statement.

“The owner took immediate action and contacted the local public health unit, which contacted the vaccine manufacturer,” they said. “Public health has confirmed that there was absolutely no risk to the customer and the dose is considered valid and effective.”

Loblaws said they have apologized to the patient, adding that they have “put additional processes in place to ensure this does not happen again.”

Loblaws’ statement did not include that eleven additional individuals also received expired vaccine doses.

Copur said despite the pharmacist assuring him that the dose was “valid”, he still handles the frustration and confusion surrounding the incident.

“I was not happy at all,” he said. “He does not know what will happen in the future.”

“This is not an egg or milk on the shelf. This is a vaccination and it’s circulating in my body. You can not take it out.”


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