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Northwest BC Revaccination Campaign expanded

Press Release

March 28, 2024

Northern Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer is recommending revaccination for approximately 1,575 more individuals immunized in Terrace, Stewart and surrounding First Nations communities between October 2022 and September 2023.

In October 2023, Northern Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control began investigating variances in temperature records for vaccines stored at the Terrace Health Unit. That investigation, which recently concluded, identified additional lots of vaccine which were potentially stored at temperatures above the accepted range.

As a result of the investigation, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Jong Kim is recommending a total of approximately 2,000 individuals be reimmunized – including 425 people previously identified in December. Many of the people identified in December for reimmunization will be contacted about additional vaccines they may need.

“Out of an abundance of caution, I have expanded my recommendation to ensure all those potentially affected have an opportunity to be reimmunized,” Dr. Kim said. “Immunization remains the best defense against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, and those who received vaccines from the affected lots may not have gotten the full benefit to their immune system.”

The affected vaccines were administered at the Terrace Health Unit, Terrace-area pharmacies, the Stewart Health Centre and clinics in Kitsumkalum, Kitselas, Iskut, Gitlaxt’amiks, Gitwinksihlkw, Gingolx, Laxgalts’ap, Gitanyow and Gitwangak. Not all vaccines administered at these locations between October 2022 and September 2023 were affected.

No COVID-19 or seasonal influenza (flu) vaccines were affected.

Northern Health, in collaboration and consultation with the First Nations Health Authority, began contacting each affected person (or their parent or guardian if they are a minor) in December. Affected individuals will continue to be contacted directly by phone and by mail. A Registered Nurse will review each case and provide information about next steps, including how to book a revaccination appointment.

The Terrace Health Unit will continue to hold special revaccination clinics for those affected as long as necessary, to ensure timely access to reimmunization without impacting regular vaccination schedules in the community. Clinics in other affected communities will accommodate revaccination appointments as well.

More information about the individual vaccines affected, and the diseases they prevent, is available online. The webpage also has information for people who believe they may have been affected but have not yet received a call or letter from Northern Health.

Northern Health apologizes for any worry or inconvenience this situation has caused the affected individuals and their families. Northern Health is committed to providing a safe and stable vaccine supply to Terrace and the surrounding communities.

As a result of this investigation, Northern Health is conducting a regional review of vaccine management at all sites that order, receive, manage and distribute vaccine. The review will inform quality improvements to ensure standard practice.

Backgrounder

The following is a list of vaccines offered as part of the Northwest BC Revaccination Campaign:

Not every person who received the listed vaccines between October 2022 and September 2023 will need to be revaccinated. The recommendation is limited to specific lot numbers of vaccine, depending on when and where they were stored.

Rotavirus vaccines are not recommended for children older than eight months. Letters with more information will be sent to the parents or guardians of children who are now too old to be reimmunized with Rotarix.

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