Six people in Vaughan, Ont., injected with saline instead of COVID-19 vaccine

'We sincerely apologize for the error and for the uncertainty and concern this situation has caused,' Mackenzie Health said

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Six people at an immunization clinic in Ontario were mistakenly injected with saline solution instead of the Pfizer vaccine.

A statement from Mackenzie Health on Monday said the incident happened on March 28 at its COVID-19 vaccine clinic located at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital north of Toronto.

Saline solution, which is just salt and water, is used to dilute the COVID-19 vaccine prior to use, and although Mackenzie Health said a saline injection does not cause any harm, it “should not have happened.”


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The affected individuals were contacted and offered support after the clinic’s “internal assurance process” led to the issue being identified in a “timely manner,” according to the statement. 

The individuals were also tested for antibodies to identify who needed to be re-injected with the vaccine.

“We sincerely apologize for the error and for the uncertainty and concern this situation has caused,” Mackenzie Health said.

A similar case of saline accidentally being injected into someone instead of a COVID-19 vaccine happened recently at a Walgreens store in North Carolina.

Company spokesperson Erin Loverher told the Virginian Pilot that 22 people were affected by the mix-up at one pharmacy in Monroe on March 20.

All impacted patients were re-injected with the proper dose as soon as they were able to return to the pharmacy. Two of those people were Lisa Strawn and her husband, who told WRAL the pharmacy realized something was done incorrectly when there was too much vaccine left over at the end of the day. 

“I just thought it was important that people know, just be careful,” Strawn told WRAL. 

In both the Mackenzie Health and Walgreen’s incident, a full review is underway to prevent similar incidents from taking place in the future. 

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