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Independent Review of Cold Chain Failure in Queenstown Lakes area completed

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The recent independent review, commissioned by the Southern DHB into the cold chain failure in the Queenstown Lakes area, has been completed by the DAA Group. This report focused on the systems and processes leading up to, during and following the identification of the cold chain failure. 

“The Southern DHB and COVID-19 Vaccination Programme team welcome all recommendations outlined in this report and are committed to implementing these recommendations,” says Chris Fleming, Chief Executive Southern DHB. “The implementation of these recommendations will improve all Southern immunisation programmes, including the COVID-19 Vaccination programme. The Southern DHB is committed to putting quality and patient safety at the forefront of everything we do, and these recommendations will strengthen our ability to this.”   

“We are committed to working in partnership alongside the provider to implement all recommendations outlined in the DAA Group review.”  

As of 08 June 2022, the Southern DHB is still attempting to contact by phone 112 of the 1576 people affected by the cold chain failure. The Southern DHB asks people who have not been contacted and who received their COVID-19 vaccination between 1 December 2021 and 28 January 2022 in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago, at locations other than pharmacies or GPs, to call 0800 28 29 26 to check the status of their vaccination. People who received their vaccination at a pharmacy or GP are not affected.   

People affected by the vaccine storage issue are encouraged to receive a replacement vaccination to ensure that they benefit from a high level of immunity against COVID-19. There is no risk of harm to individuals that have received a vaccine stored at an incorrect temperature. However, in these circumstances the vaccine is not considered to be potent nor to produce a reliable level of immunity. 

“We would like to reassure our communities that this was an isolated incident,” says Mr Fleming. “Vaccination providers across Southern have done a fantastic job, and continue to do a fantastic job, vaccinating and protecting our whānau and loved ones. Southern would not have been able to get to a double vaccination rate of 97.5% and a booster rate of 74.7% if it were not for their dedication and hard work.” 

The Southern DHB would like to recognise the years of dedicated vaccination and health care service the provider has carried out within the Queenstown Lakes district. They are a community minded, locally driven organisation that has the health and welfare of their staff, community and whānau at the heart of everything they do. The cold chain failure was an unfortunate occurrence and the Southern DHB has full confidence that this event will only improve the quality of care that they provide their community every day.