Auditor General releases report about Manitoba’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Manitoba’s Auditor General has released his report looking at the provincial government’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, saying the process was “effectively managed” but better practices would have improved the rollout effort.

Auditor General Tyson Shtykalo shared his findings Wednesday and also provided three recommendations to the province.

“I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of public servants and service delivery providers during the vaccine rollout,” Shtykalo said in a news release. “The successes Manitoba achieved are linked to these efforts. Looking ahead, there are opportunities to learn from the rollout, and prepare for the next large-scale public health emergency.”

Even though he said the rollout was effectively managed, he said the Manitoba government needs to go through “lessons-learned exercises.”

“This will be essential in address gaps in emergency preparedness exposed by the pandemic.”

He said one of the gaps was not having clear roles and responsibilities for the rollout between Manitoba Health, Shared Health, regional health authorities and other organizations.

He added the learning exercise could also help develop better practices for regular operations.

Shtykalo also addressed the province’s use of paper during the rollout to collect consent and immunization data. He said the province needs a better electronic system to better document data and help lessen the risk of incomplete and inaccurate data.

As part of the report, Shtykalo offered three recommendations to help improve systems going forward.

The first was the Department of Health review its paper-based methods and make changes to mitigate risks.

The second was performing the lessons-learned exercises and applying them for current and future operations, such as clearly defining roles, exercises that test response plans for worst-case scenarios, identifying all human resource requirements and implementing and maintaining a stockpile of emergency supplies.

Lastly, Shtykalo recommended the Department of Health make sure the appropriate controls to maintain vaccine integrity are performed properly.

“We did find some examples of missing records or some monitoring controls weren’t recorded. While we didn’t find any evidence that the safety of the vaccines were at risk, it’s important that when these controls are put into place, that they’re followed effectively,” Shtykalo said in an interview with CTV News.

The entire report can be read below.

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