Saugeen First Nation residents given expired COVID-19 vaccine for weeks

OTTAWA — A northern Ontario First Nation says Indigenous Services Canada gave residents expired doses of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 between Aug. 9 and Sept. 15.

According to a statement from the Saugeen First Nation, nurses from ISC administered doses based on the expiry date on the vials, not realizing the doses had already expired because they were not refrigerated.

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The First Nation says the shipment was received in July and was originally set to expire in October.

But because the vials were thawed, they were good for only 31 days — until Aug. 9. The new expiry date was noted on the box but not on the individual vials, in accordance with ISC protocol.

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The Saugeen First Nation COVID-19 response team says the expired doses do not pose a health risk, but the mistake could affect the livelihood of some residents while they await another dose.

Indigenous Services Canada has not yet responded to requests for comment.

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