The Brunswick Pediatric Clinic in Pointe-Claire has issued a vaccine recall for several young patients after it was discovered the doses had been stored at the wrong temperature.
Several dozen patients have been contacted and will need to get another dose, since the vaccine may have been ineffective.
“We need to check the temperatures twice a day so we noticed at the beginning of November that the temperature was outside of the range in one of the fridges,” said the clinic’s head nurse, Leilani Vallejo.
Most vaccines need to be kept refrigerated at a temperature between 2 C and 8 C in order to be effective. The purpose of the so-called “cold chain” is to maintain the product’s quality from the time of production until the point of administration.
When an internal audit revealed the anomaly, the clinic’s staff members reported it to public health officials, who ordered them to stop administering vaccines until recently.
“We just started re-vaccinating again in the new year,” Vallejo said. “We recalled those patients. There’s no danger in them having received that vaccine.”
There’s also no danger in receiving a second dose of the same vaccine, according to medical experts.
“It’s always better to get an extra dose than to be unprotected,” said Dr. John Yaremko, a pediatrician.
“It’s sad that they’re getting a vaccine to protect themselves and maybe the protection might be half of what it should be — or maybe a quarter or maybe not at all, depending how damaged the vaccine was through this poor temperature control.”
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Public health officials conduct regular audits to verify the proper storage of vaccines. Clinics are also required to keep a daily log of temperatures.
The clinic in question claims that all affected patients have been contacted and will be given their new doses as soon as possible.
“The patients will have to get a repeat dose as if it would have been their first dose,” Vallejo said, adding: “There’s no danger in them having received the dose that was ineffective and then this new dose.”