Some Nova Scotians scheduled for a COVID-19 or other vaccination this week may need to rebook their appointments because of the impact of power outages on vaccine supplies.
For the COVID-19 vaccine and others to remain effective, they must be stored at a specific temperature, part of what is known as the “cold chain.” Widespread power outages caused by hurricane Fiona have disrupted the cold chain at some pharmacies and other sites where vaccines were stored.
Public Health staff will need to confirm that vaccines have maintained the appropriate temperature at affected sites. It will take between five and seven business days for Public Health to assess the cold chain with pharmacies, doctors’ offices and other sites across the province.
A small number of appointments booked for this week will be cancelled while that work is done. Some Nova Scotians may receive a call from their local pharmacy or clinic, or they may get an email cancellation from CanImmunize.
“I know this is disappointing and frustrating for some Nova Scotians, but we need to ensure the vaccines we are administering are effective,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Public Health is working with pharmacies and other immunizers to determine next steps. Nova Scotians who received a dose of vaccine since Saturday may be called back by their provider to receive another dose if it is found that their vaccine was stored at an improper temperature. If they do not receive a call, that means their immunizer was unaffected. Anyone who is concerned about a dose received in recent days should contact the provider where they received their vaccine.
Nova Scotia’s supplies of Imvamune, the monkeypox vaccine, were not affected because power was maintained at its storage site, the provincial bio depot in Dartmouth.
NACI’s recommendations on bivalent COVID-19 vaccine: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/immunization/national-advisory-committee-on-immunization-naci/recommendations-use-bivalent-Omicron-containing-mrna-covid-19-vaccines.pdf
Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 vaccine plan: https://novascotia.ca/vaccineplan