A NUMBER of Pfizer vaccine doses were binned at the weekend during an immunisation session at a specialist hospital in Ayrshire. 

The wastage occurred at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine on Saturday, while NHS staff were being vaccinated. 

The hospital provides rehabilitation services, assessment beds for elderly mental health patients, and care for young disabled people. 

A source said that, on at least two occasions, vials containing up to five or six doses had been disposed of after only one injection - but in a statement NHS Ayrshire and Arran said the wastage was limited to three doses. 

READ MORE: 'Real risk' of vaccine doses going to waste 

The source added: "We have always had suspicions that vaccines were being wasted.

"Given the crucial nature of the vaccination programme I found it ludicrous that such a thing would occur."

They added that had heard of nurses within the NHS in Scotland being ordered to discard the the remainder of the vial rather than use to to give a member of staff their second vaccine dose.

They said: "They have been threatened with losing their registration if they did this."

It comes after BMA Scotland warned earlier this month that there was "real risk" of vaccines going to waste due to appointment scheduling difficulties after vaccine dose spacing was extended at short notice from three to 12 weeks. 

The trade union has called for second dose appointments to be reinstated earlier for frontline NHS staff, and for the delay between doses to be reduced to six weeks.  

It has also called for "full transparency" about vaccine wastage. 

READ MORE: Call for published data on vaccine wastage 

Dr Lewis Morrison, leader of the BMA in Scotland, said clinics in some board areas had been given the flexibility to administer excess vaccines as boosters, but said this had not happened in all areas. 

A spokesman for NHS Ayrshire and Arran said: "Vaccines are being administered by experienced immunisation staff who have received additional training for the safe preparation and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines.

"At this stage in the rollout Ayrshire and Arran has seen negligible numbers of wastage thanks to the skill and dedication of our immunisation team.

"Vaccinations took place at Ayrshire Central Hospital last weekend (23-24 January). Three vaccine doses were recorded as wastage from this vaccination session.

"We have reviewed our existing processes to ensure the continued minimisation of waste.

"This includes preparing a list of potential staff at the start of the day who may be available at short notice to receive their first dose of the vaccine should we have available vaccine as a result of appointments being unattended."

The Scottish Government has said that early estimates suggest vaccine wastage in Scotland has been around 1.82 per cent, which is "well below a 5% planning assumption".