Human error causes delay in vaccine shipment to Sask. pharmacies: Health minister
REGINA -- Saskatchewan pharmacies are experiencing a brief delay in their COVID-19 vaccination shipments following a mistake from the provincial government.
Pharmacies were initially told to expect a shipment on Wednesday, but the shipment will arrive on Thursday.
“It’s something that I have to apologize to pharmacists for,” Paul Merriman, Saskatchewan's minister of health, said on Wednesday. “They’ve been very good in getting themselves ready for the vaccine process. It was a simple human error.”
Merriman said the incorrect date for the vaccines to be picked up was plugged into their system. It should have been made for the day after.
He said the province is learning from this hiccup and will ensure it does not happen again.
“We’re doing our best to make sure that it is double checked and triple checked next time we ship out,” Merriman said.
Greens Pharmacy co-owner Jeet Patel said he was informed about the delay on Tuesday evening. The one-day delay in vaccines forced him to push appointments back for patients.
“Patients were understanding,” Patel said. “They rebooked their appointments and we’ll be open on Saturday and Sunday for specifically this purpose.”
Patel said the pharmacy would have been closed on Sunday if everything was on schedule.
Despite this mistake, Patel said the vaccine rollout at the Greens Pharmacy has been going smoothly.
“It’s a little bit surprising because we are not that popular, but lots of people are calling – the phones are ringing constantly,” he said, adding that Greens Pharmacy is doing its vaccine appointment bookings online.
On Wednesday, the minister of health also said the province could potentially be receiving a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccinations next week.
“We’re going to be looking at how we’re going to allocate that out. Obviously it would be used for second doses, but how we’re going to do that and when we’re going to do that will depend if and when that shipment arrives,” Merriman said. He added the province will let the public know immediately if the shipment does arrive.
While some other provinces have paused the usage of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Saskatchewan does not plan to do the same.
“If we get vaccines from the federal government, we will be using them,” he said.
Merriman said as far as he knows, there have been no severe reactions to the AstraZeneca vaccine in Saskatchewan.