The syringes were reused for COVID-19 vaccines at a pharmacy in British Columbia, the Fraser Health Authority has confirmed.
Fraser Health confirmed via email Tuesday that its staff had been told syringes – “the plastic tube that contains the vaccine solution, not the needles” – were being reused at a pharmacy in its jurisdiction.
A spokesperson described it as “a failure in infection prevention and control.”
“Although the risk of contracting a blood-borne disease from reuse of a syringe is low, we encourage all concerned to see their family doctor or a walk-in clinic to rule out this potential problem. “Fraser Health said.
The authority has not confirmed where in its area, which stretches from Burnaby to Boston Bar, the pharmacy is located.
He said the pharmacy was participating in a provincial pilot program testing the ability of pharmacies to use a specific reservation system, and the location was suspended from the program once it was learned the syringes were being reused.
The BC College of Pharmacists is investigating, Fraser Health said.
CTV News has contacted the college, but it has only confirmed the investigation, which is being conducted by its complaints and investigations team.
An article on his website describing the complaints identified the pharmacist as Bhanu Prasad Seelaboyina who, according to a since-deleted LinkedIn profile, was the pharmacy manager at a Guardian Pharmacy store in New Westminster.
The college’s investigation falls under section 32.2 (4) (b) (i) of the Health Professions Act. He wrote that the pharmacist had agreed to limit his practice last week, pending the results of the investigation.
He cannot act as a pharmacy manager during this period, nor administer drugs or substances by injection.
His drug administration certificate was also revoked, according to the college, which wrote: “The holder admitted to using the same syringe cylinder for multiple patients while administering COVID-19 vaccines between August 24, 2021 and August 26, 2021. “
He goes on to say that, “due to the conduct and judgment of the licensee in this matter, the Inquiry Committee considered the above limits and conditions necessary to protect against further risk of harm to patients. “.
“We take loss of control very seriously,” Fraser Health said of his role in the investigation.
“As soon as we became aware of the problem, our public health team began monitoring affected patients regarding the appropriate next steps to ensure their well-being. “
Health authority staff first attempted to contact these patients by phone and then sent a letter.
The BC Center for Disease Control ranks hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among the “most notable” blood-borne diseases. Others include malaria, syphilis, and brucellosis, although the BCCDC says there are many other pathogens that can be carried through the blood.