HSE apologises after wrong vaccine sent to nursing home

AstraZeneca vaccine delivered to Dublin nursing home where residents had been given first-dose shots of Pfizer vaccine
HSE apologises after wrong vaccine sent to nursing home

While the home had given first-dose shots of the Pfizer vaccine previously, the delivery on February 16 also contained doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is both stored and administered differently. File picture

The HSE has apologised after doses of the wrong vaccine were delivered to a nursing home in Dublin.

A consignment of vaccine was delivered to the north Dublin home on or about February 16, ahead of a vaccine drive for the over-85s.

However, while the home had given first-dose shots of the Pfizer vaccine previously, the delivery on February 16 also contained doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is both stored and administered differently.

A communication from the HSE to the home after the issue had been pointed out to it said checks had revealed that some locations “may have received an AstraZeneca box of vaccine packs in error instead of a Pfizer box”.

“Can you please as a matter of urgency IMMEDIATELY check your supplies you received this week and check the labels,” it said. 

“The AstraZeneca boxes contain a completely different syringe/needle combo and these are not suitable for the Pfizer vaccine.

"This is unlikely to affect 99% of locations but just in case anyone else has an AstraZeneca box it’s sensible to contact you, get it checked, make sure everything is OK, rather than have an issue on the vaccination day itself,” the message concluded.

Doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were sent to the home in error. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

Doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were sent to the home in error. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

It’s understood the mistake was rectified by the HSE after the issue was discovered within the home the day following the delivery and that no doses of the incorrect vaccine were administered.

Asked about the incident, the HSE said it “apologises for any inconvenience caused in this instance”.

“The HSE looked into this matter as soon as it was brought to the attention of the logistics team and have since corrected the delivery of vaccination supplies. We are satisfied that the matter has been resolved,” a spokesperson said.

They added that vaccine rollout is a “complex logistical programme in a rapidly evolving context”.

“As issues arise in this new programme we seek to resolve [them] in real-time to ensure programme continuity whilst maintaining a commitment to high service delivery and patient safety,” they said.

The HSE further stressed that receiving alternate vaccines from differing products has been proven to be “not dangerous”, with recent UK clinical trials having been launched to ascertain that fact.

It’s unclear whether anyone in Ireland has as yet been administered the incorrect product as part of the vaccine rollout.

Meanwhile, the nursing home itself, when asked about the matter, initially declared the story to be “completely untrue”. 

The home did not reply to a further request for comment after it was pointed out that the HSE had both acknowledged and apologised for the incident.

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