Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 June 2021) . . Page.. 1586 ..
to an SMS doing the rounds in Canberra to book in for vaccines at Garran. Minister, how many doses of Pfizer vaccine have been discarded unused since it first arrived in the ACT?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Lee for the question. Yes, we hear these rumours all the time. I ask questions regularly, and I am consistently advised that that is not accurate, particularly in relation to the incident that Ms Lee referred to. There were some appointments available that had not been taken up at the surge centre, but there was not a risk of vaccine doses going to waste if people did not come and use those appointments. That was not true. That was not an authorised message. I know that some people did get appointments that weekend who would not have otherwise been able to book the vaccine, but—
Ms Lee: Point of order.
MADAM SPEAKER: Resume your seat, minister. Point of order, Ms Lee.
Ms Lee: The question was specifically about how many doses of the Pfizer vaccine were discarded unused. I ask that you direct the minister to answer the question.
MADAM SPEAKER: The minister is in order. You made reference to other elements in your question.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I should have said before I started talking about the detail that I will take the specifics of the question about the actual number on notice, but the context is really important. As I said, we do hear these rumours all the time, and I am consistently advised and assured that we are not seeing doses go to waste.
There is always some wastage in a vaccination program. Particularly for the Pfizer vaccine, there will be some doses that are unable to be used for technical reasons. Apparently when you dilute and draw the Pfizer vaccine—or draw and dilute it—you cannot tap or shake the syringe to get rid of air bubbles. It is quite a technical thing. In other vaccines and other injectables you can do that, but you cannot do that with Pfizer. So if there is an air bubble, then that cannot be used. It is uncommon—our staff are very skilled—but that is one reason that there might be doses that are not able to be used. (Time expired.)
MS LEE: Minister, how are discarded doses accounted for? Is there a recording process? If so, what is it?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Yes; in all vaccination programs there is a recording process for wastage.
MRS JONES: What is the current level of vaccination in the ACT? How many people have been fully vaccinated and how many have been partially vaccinated?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: The last numbers that I had—I will look these up again—were that about 95,000 doses had been given. About 20,000 of those were second