UK

Dozens of Pfizer vaccine doses were BINNED at Scottish NHS hospital

Doses of the Pfizer vaccine were binned during an NHS immunisation session amid calls for ‘full transparency’ about jag wastage.

The doses were wasted at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland, on Saturday, while NHS staff were being vaccinated.

The hospital provides rehabilitation services, assessment beds for elderly mental health patients, and care for young disabled people.

It comes as production of the Oxford vaccine at a Welsh factory was suspended for around five hours while a bomb squad investigated a ‘suspicious package’ today.

A source claimed that on at least two occasions, vials containing up to five or six doses had been disposed of after only one injection in Ayrshire.

But in a statement NHS Ayrshire and Arran said the wastage was limited to three doses.

The doses were wasted at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland, on Saturday, while NHS staff were being vaccinated (file photo)

Dale Snowden from Sunderland receives the AstraZeneca/Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS Nightingale North East hospital yesterday

Dale Snowden from Sunderland receives the AstraZeneca/Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS Nightingale North East hospital yesterday

An insider told the Herald: ‘We have always had suspicions that vaccines were being wasted.

‘Given the crucial nature of the vaccination programme I found it ludicrous that such a thing would occur.’

BMA Scotland warned of the ‘risk’ of vaccines going to waste due to appointment scheduling difficulties after vaccine dose spacing was extended at short notice from three to 12 weeks.

It has also called for ‘full transparency’ about vaccine wastage.

A spokesman for NHS Ayrshire and Arran said: ‘Vaccines are being administered by experienced immunisation staff who have received additional training for the safe preparation and delivery of the Covid-19 vaccines.

‘At this stage in the rollout Ayrshire and Arran has seen negligible numbers of wastage thanks to the skill and dedication of our immunisation team.

‘Vaccinations took place at Ayrshire Central Hospital last weekend (23-24 January). Three vaccine doses were recorded as wastage from this vaccination session.

‘We have reviewed our existing processes to ensure the continued minimisation of waste.

‘This includes preparing a list of potential staff at the start of the day who may be available at short notice to receive their first dose of the vaccine should we have available vaccine as a result of appointments being unattended.’

The Scottish Government has said early estimates suggest vaccine wastage in Scotland has been around 1.82 per cent, which is ‘well below a five per cent planning assumption’.

Meanwhile production of the Oxford vaccine at a Welsh factory was suspended for around five hours while a bomb squad investigated a ‘suspicious package’ today. 

All employees were evacuated from the Wockhardt pharmaceutical facility at Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales at around 11.30am after staff received the parcel.

Wockhardt provides fill-and-finish services for the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine and is capable of producing up to 300 million doses of the vital jab each year.

A plant spokesman said the pause in production – which commenced around 11.30 – did not affect production of the vital jab.

Workers have now returned to the factory after the suspicious package was ‘made safe’ and the investigation has now been concluded. 

The plant could not provide information on how many doses of the vaccine were on site, but said production ‘had been proceeding at pace to meet the Government contract for 100 million vaccine doses’. 

Pictures taken at the site earlier today showed bomb squad vehicles and several police officers.

A bomb disposal robot was filmed on the site as experts ensured the plant’s 400 staff members were safe to return.

A factory that produces and stores vital doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was evacuated after it was sent a 'suspicious package' today. Pictured: Emergency workers at the scene

A factory that produces and stores vital doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was evacuated after it was sent a ‘suspicious package’ today. Pictured: Emergency workers at the scene 

The Wockhardt vaccine facility in Wrexham this morning received a suspicious package. Pictured: Emergency services at the scene

The Wockhardt vaccine facility in Wrexham this morning received a suspicious package. Pictured: Emergency services at the scene

A cordon was put in place near the plant and the public were asked to keep away.

A spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that the investigation on the suspicious package received today has been concluded. 

‘Given that staff safety is our main priority manufacturing was temporarily paused whilst this took place safely. 

‘We can now confirm that the package was made safe and staff are now being allowed back into the facility.

‘This temporary suspension of manufacturing has in no way affected our production schedule and we are grateful to the authorities and experts for their swift response and resolution of the incident.’

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said an explosive ordnance disposal team based in Chester was called out just after 11.30am and was assisting the authorities in Wrexham.

Downing Street was being kept up to date on developments, a Number 10 spokesman said.


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