The nationwide campaign to get the COVID-19 vaccine to kids has had some unusual hiccups. Whether it’s pharmacies giving the wrong dosage or administering the wrong vaccine altogether, things have not always gone very smoothly.
Less than two weeks after the FDA authorized the emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-old children, more than 100 kids were given an inaccurate dosage at a pharmacy in Aldie, Virginia.
Ted Pharmacy incorrectly administered the vaccine to 112 children under the age of 12. According to the FDA, that age group is supposed to receive doses of 10 micrograms, while anyone 12 and older is supposed to receive 30-microgram doses.
At Ted Pharmacy, “the way the vaccines were diluted resulted in kids getting an incorrect formula, and incorrect dosage of vaccine,” WUSA-TV reported.
“Our understanding is that Ted Pharmacy attempted to give the correct 10-microgram dosage to those under 12 by administering 0.1 ml of the adult formulation,” said David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department.
“Due to the very small volume used and concerns raised by some parents as to whether 0.1 ml was actually administered, it is possible some children were underdosed.”
One parent, Dasha Hermosilla, said she actually noticed the pharmacist getting out the purple-capped vaccine for her daughter. Hermosilla questioned the pharmacists, but they assured her they were giving the correct dosage.
“Nothing says that you can change a purple to an orange,” Hermosilla told WRC-TV. “I had this pit in my stomach that, like, what did they just do to my daughter?”
Parents were notified in a letter from the Loudoun County Health Department that their children had received the wrong dosage. But the letter offered little help other than telling parents to contact their kids’ primary care doctor and keep an eye on them for potential side effects.
State and federal officials ordered Ted Pharmacy to stop distributing the vaccine on Nov. 5 before seizing all of its doses, according to CNBC.
This wasn’t the first mistake in the nationwide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In October, before Pfizer had even rolled out their children’s doses, CNN reported that an Indiana family went to a Walgreens pharmacy to get flu shots. Instead, the parents and their 4- and 5-year-old children were given the COVID-19 vaccine.
The children almost immediately started suffering side effects, including fever, body aches, nausea and high blood pressure.
In September, Fox News reported a similar situation in Baltimore. Victoria Olivier took her 4-year-old daughter to Walgreens for a flu shot, but she received a COVID-19 vaccine instead.
Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso issued a statement saying, “Events like this are extremely rare and we take this matter very seriously. … We’ve recently reviewed this process with our pharmacy staff in order to prevent a future occurrence.”
Well, clearly events like this are not all that rare.
There’s no room for guesswork when administering vaccines. That’s why you go to medical school. It is literally an exact science.
If parents are going to be pressured into getting their children vaccinated, then pharmacists better be absolutely certain they are doing everything correctly.
The Kaiser Family Foundation found that there is already significant hesitation among parents to have their young children vaccinated.
One-third of parents say they want to “wait and see” before they get their children vaccinated with the smaller doses. Another 30 percent say they definitely won’t have their children vaccinated, while 5 percent say they will, but only if schools require it.
Pharmacists giving incorrect dosages and the wrong vaccine altogether to children is not going to alleviate any fears and is certainly a testament to the frenzy that has surrounded the production and distribution of the vaccine.
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