Revelstoke ‘invalid’ COVID-19 vaccine dose update

After 516 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Revelstoke, we followed up with Interior Health to find out about progress on re-doing the vaccine doses.

File photo: An Interior Health sign pointing the the back door entrance to vaccination clinics at the Revelstoke Community Centre. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

Interior Health says it is making progress following up with Revelstoke residents who received one of 516 invalid COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The invalid doses were announced on Aug. 24. At the time, Interior Health said the vaccine doses had not been properly refrigerated, rendering them ‘invalid.’

Read our story from Aug. 24 on the 516 invalid doses administered in Revelstoke here:

516 Revelstoke COVID vaccine doses to be redone after improper refrigeration, IH says

In a Sept. 3 email response to our inquiry, Interior Health (IH) said it had called all 516 people affected by the invalid doses. “For anyone we had to leave a message for or did not have an answering machine, we are mailing letters to their home addresses,” IH said in its response.

IH said that it won’t know until they received an internal report on September 7 how many of those affected have rescheduled their appointments. However, IH said that “anecdotally” it has heard that residents affected have been scheduling new appointments.

Invalid doses were all Pfizer-BioNTech brand

In Revelstoke, to the best of our knowledge, COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to the public have been either the Moderna or Pfizer brands. Some residents received two doses of one brand, while others received one dose of each depending on availability on clinic days.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has strict and specific refrigeration requirements and is frozen at very cold temperatures. It is shipped in specially designed, temperature-controlled thermal shippers utilizing dry ice that keeps the vaccines at -70°C±10°C for up to 10 days unopened, according to an information release by Pfizer. The information release also spells out other specific refrigeration requirements and processes, and notes the vaccines are tracked using, “GPS-enabled thermal sensors with a control tower that will track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment.”

The invalid doses were administered between July 9-30, 2021, but Interior Health stressed that only a portion of doses delivered during that period were invalid.

When the issue was announced on Aug. 24, Interior Health said receiving the invalid dose does not pose a health risk to those affected, that nobody who received invalid doses has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and that although they are deemed invalid, the doses may have nevertheless provided protection.

Aaron Orlando is a Revelstoke-based journalist who serves as creative director of and Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. He's been on the news beat in Revelstoke for the past 14 years, serving in senior editorial roles. If you have or call/text him at 250-814-8710.