Save-On-Foods has apologized after 10 customers at one of its Burnaby locations were given expired doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
The company said the doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were administered on April 5, but had an expiration date of April 2.
“I was really alarmed. I think I have the right to feel that way,” Marie Casas, whose husband received one of the expired doses, told Global News.
“He was even joking that, oh, maybe he’s going to be like superhuman or something. I said, ‘That’s not funny,’ because we don’t even know what the vaccine will be doing to you in the long run. Because of all the negative media attention that vaccine has gotten, that’s one of my concerns.”
British Columbia has been using the AstraZeneca vaccine for members of the public aged 55 to 65 years old, after pausing the use of the vaccine for younger front-line workers amid concerns about possible links to blood clots.
Save-On-Foods says it began contacting the recipients as soon as it realized the error and disclosed it to relevant professional bodies.
“We understand that the concern with receiving an expired vaccine is the relative effectiveness of the vaccine and we have contacted the Medical Health Officer and followed their guidance on how to continue vaccination of these customers so they are protected from COVID-19,” a spokesperson said in an email.
“Navigating through this pandemic is stressful in itself and we have sincerely apologized to these customers who were impacted.”
The company added that it had “taken steps” to “refine and reinforce” its guidelines and procedures to prevent a repeat of the error.
Casas said if the company wants to make things right, it needs to follow through on that promise.
“What else can they have done to prevent this from happening?” she asked. “That policy needs to be in place before this mistake happens again.”
Casas said her husband is feeling OK right now, but that they are watching his health closely and have scheduled a follow-up with their doctor.