David Allardice, a blood cancer survivor, was delighted to get his first injection of Covid-19 vaccine two weeks ago, bringing him one step closer to safety from the lethal respiratory disease.
But relief quickly turned to shock when it was revealed that the 55-year-old Hong Kong resident had gone to the wrong vaccination center and received the China-made Sinovac jab rather than the BioNTech one from Germany he had reserved.Only after the government had given him a text message that he did not come to his vaccination appointment was the mixture made clear.
Indeed, Allardice had shown up at the wrong place, but had waved around with a dosage that he had previously decided not to take because his doctor had been consulted without careful checking.“I was desperate to get vaccinated so I could get a little bit of my life back. If I got Covid-19, I would not survive … I’ve lived with that panic for over a year now,” he told the Post.
“Only once I’ve had a second dose would I then have a greater degree of confidence to go out anywhere other than to chemotherapy.”
Allardice and his vaccine partner reserved a BioNTech appointment for 6.30pm on March 18 at the Hiu Kwong Street Sports Centre in Kwun Tong. However, they went to the Kowloon Bay Sports Centre, which is about 3 kilometers away and only administers Sinovac jabs.
He remembered the two of them arriving at the center about 6 p.m. and being guided inside after displaying their identification cards.“I don’t think anyone checked whether I had a booking or not. It didn’t seem very obvious. But if they had checked, there would have been no booking at Kowloon Bay.
“It seems quite wrong that they didn’t individually check with each person. There are some people who aren’t suitable for certain vaccinations,” Allardice said.
“No one at any point said to me ‘you’re in the wrong place’ or ‘you’re getting the wrong vaccination’. It came across as if the systems that should be in place weren’t in place.”The Civil Service Bureau, which oversees the city’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign, admitted that receptionists at the Kowloon Bay Sports Centre failed to screen Allardice and his wife, who is over 70 years old, as needed, causing them to join the incorrect vaccination center.
“Although the vaccine was only administered with the [vaccinated person’s] consent to the health care staff at the information zone and the vaccination booth, we sincerely apologise for the mishap,” the spokesman said.However, Allardice replied that the permission he was said to have issued was not informed and he was not informed that he would be receiving the Sinovac vaccine.
Following the shot, he was issued a “CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine” certificate, which corresponds to the Sinovac product’s brand name. However, Allardice stated that this did not raise any concerns since the vaccines were typically known by their suppliers.In order to stop such situations in future, the office said that the reception personnel will be reminded to inspect the vaccination, dates and venue bookings for the recipient.
Reservation confirmations and appointment updates for quick recognition were also reviewed, both the name of the vaccine and its producer.
The spokesperson refused to comment further whether the office had received other warnings of the incorrect vaccine being delivered.
Allardice acknowledged that he was partially responsible for the bungle, but that the employees of the vaccine center would take charge of everything that transpired after he had been inside.“I went to the wrong place, but there, at that point, the responsibility then falls exclusively on the vaccination centre,” he said, adding he had lodged a formal complaint with the bureau.
Residents aged 60 and over, as well as specific categories such as health care professionals and care home employees, were originally given preference for the vaccines.
Those above the age of 70 will carry up to two others with them to be vaccinated at the same time, enabling Allardice to be vaccinated with the older individual with whom he shared the booking.
The initiative, which started in late February, was later extended to include all people aged 30 and up. Domestic helpers and students aged 16 and up studying abroad are also eligible.Allardice told him to discuss at length the vaccine to take with his doctor and chosen the BioNTech injection, which goes by Comirnaty’s brand name, since it was more efficient than the CoronaVac Jab in Sinovac.
“When you’re doing chemotherapy, the efficacy is going to be reduced. It will also be reduced as a result of leukaemia. So with a double reduction of what is already quite a low efficacy [for CoronaVac], I’m not going to be left with a large amount of coverage, which is my concern. It removes the confidence of going out that I’d hoped I would be getting,” he said.
Allardice said his doctor was shocked to learn of the vaccination bungle.
“His jaw sort of dropped at the table,” he said, adding the physician advised him not to proceed for the second Sinovac shot and just start over with the BioNTech vaccine.Allardice, on the other hand, said that he had not yet made up his mind. He was a Scotsman who hoped to return to his homeland when travel resumed, and he would take the second Sinovac shot if his fully vaccinated status enabled him to travel.
The government advises the general population to undergo two doses of the same vaccine. Only the BioNTech and Sinovac shoots, all of which require two doses, are currently available in Hong Kong.
In phase-three trials, two doses of the BioNTech vaccine were shown to be 95% effective against Covid-19 as compared to a placebo.In the 18 – 60 age group the latest Sinovac results revealed an average efficacy rate of 50,66%, which rose to 62,3% after four weeks later on the second dose.
The Hong Kong Medical Experts who work at the Kowloon Bay vaccination center failed to comment on the case of Allardice in particular.
The provider of medical services said that a jab receiver should generally present to administrative personnel for identity verification purposes the text message indicating the booking on arrival at a vaccination centres.
They can also watch a documentary about the vaccine before taking a shot and sign a consent form.
“For individual cases who claim they did not know which vaccination they were going to receive even after several rounds of checking, we think it is difficult for us to give a comment,” the company told the Post.
The inability to review a person’s vaccine booking before proceeding with the injection, according to Alex Lam Chi-yau, chairman of Hong Kong Patients’ Voices, is “unacceptable.”“A vaccination centre has the ultimate responsibility to perform the gatekeeping duty – to check whether the person has a booking, which vaccine they intend to receive … and whether there should be pre-screening to make sure vaccine recipients have informed consent,” Lam said.
“This incident showed that a vaccination centre wasn’t performing its gatekeeping function … or [they] made mistakes when carrying out this duty.”
The Post spotted a new sign on the front door of the Kowloon Bay Sports Centre specifying it performed Sinovac jabs on Wednesday (March 31), a day after it asked about Allardice’s situation. The sign obscured the earlier seen welcoming note.
Source: SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST