1,500 Southern Lakes/Cromwell people hit by faulty vaccine

by Kim Bowden - Mar 07, 2022

The effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines delivered to more than 1,500 people in Queenstown-Lakes and Central Otago has come into question after an issue with vaccine storage was identified.

The Southern District Health Board says initial investigations have identified just more than 1,500 people have received an affected vaccination that was stored at an incorrect temperature.

Answering media questions today, SDHB chief executive officer Chris Fleming says many of the affected vaccines were booster shots.

The people affected received their vaccinations at various locations in Queenstown-Lakes and Central Otago between December 1 and January 28.

People in this group are being encouraged by health officials to receive a replacement vaccination to ensure that they benefit from a high level of immunity against Covid-19.

The SDHB is in the process of contacting those affected.

In an earlier statement, SDHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Jack says there is no risk of harm to individuals that have received a vaccine stored at an incorrect temperature.

“However, in these circumstances the vaccine is not considered to be potent nor to produce a reliable level of immunity,” Dr Jack says.

The incident is an isolated one, and the affected provider is working closely with the health board on a detailed investigation and has ceased vaccination pending the outcome, the statement says.

There are robust requirements in place to ensure that vaccine is stored correctly and that issues are identified quickly, and any impact is minimised, the statement says.

SDHB Chief executive officer Chris Fleming says the SDHB recognises the inconvenience and anxiety the issue may cause for those affected.

“We sincerely apologise to those people who have been impacted by this incident, and also to their whānau.”

All people impacted by the incident will be contacted by phone, or email and letter within the next three working days, and detailed information will be provided regarding each individual’s circumstances and the recommended course of action.

A fully-funded GP consultation will be given to anyone affected who has any concerns or requires further advice on a replacement vaccination.

People affected by this incident who wish to book their replacement vaccination should call 0800 28 29 26 (7 days a week, 8am to 8pm) for more information.

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