Several pharmacies, including Ted Pharmacy in Aldie, Virginia,1 recently gave young children an adult dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech experimental COVID BNT162b2 biologic rather than the reduced dose specially formulated for children give to 11 years old after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded the recommendation for use of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot to include children in that age group.2
This segment of the pediatric population are supposed to be given the reduced dose contained in vials with an orange cap that differs from the vials with a purple cap designated for adolescents and adults. Vaccine providers administer the reduced dosage COVID vaccine to children with a smaller syringe.3
Virginia Pharmacies Give Children Wrong Dosage of Pfizer COVID Biologic
Ted Pharmacy recently admitted to administering the wrong doses of BNT162b2 to 112 children aged five to 11 years old. The pharmacy gave the children doses of the biologic formulated for adolescents 12 years of age and older.4
Loudoun County Health Department said that it was a parent who noticed that the color of the vile was purple and not orange. The health department was notified, after which public health officials removed the remaining vaccines from the pharmacy and asked them to notify the parents of the affected children.5
David Goodfriend, MD, director of the Loudoun County Health Department, said:
Because they did not have the children’s formulation they used the adult formulation but only gave a third of the amount to the children. Our understanding from Ted Pharmacy is they were trying to do a workaround, which is not authorized.6
Dr. Goodfriend said that there can be issues with the workaround of the vaccine. He explained:
If it doesn’t all go in, or if goes into the body but doesn’t go into the muscle, or you didn’t draw it up exactly to the 0.1 milliliter line, there’s a chance you might get too little vaccine. There’s also a chance it could have given too much.7
Dr. Goodfriend wrote a letter to the parents of the affected children that included guidance from the CDC on how to proceed with the next dose. The guidance stated that children who were given the wrong dose could proceed with a second dose of the correct amount in three weeks, or restart the two-shot series after three weeks.8
In addition, three children in Ashburn, Virginia received the wrong dose of BNT162b2 at a CVS pharmacy that mixed the biologic with extra diluent. CVS issued a public statement saying:
We notified the parents of each patient and, per CDC guidelines, recommended their child be revaccinated. We are reporting this event to HHS’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and are taking steps to help prevent this from occurring again.9
Children Given Wrong Doses in Other Parts of the Country
In Garland, Texas, a six-year-old boy and a seven-year-old boy were mistakenly given adult doses of BNT162b2 at a pop-up clinic run by Garland’s health department. The parents of the boys were notified of the error. Julian Gonzalez, the parent of the six-year-old said:
We found out after the fact that the vials for the children’s vaccine should have been different, the needles should have been different… It should have been labeled specifically for kids so… where did that decision come from? Who was it that told them they could go ahead and offer it?10
Gonzalez added that he was frustrated and frightened for his child.11
A five-year-old boy in Midvale, Utah was given an adult booster shot instead of a child’s dose of BNT162b2 at East Midvale Elementary School. The mother of the child said that the health care professionals who administered the wrong dose were nonchalant about the error and said her son is “just more protected than other kids his age.”12
Nicholas Rupp, communications and public relations manager with the Salt Lake County Health Department, said:
While we do not expect any adverse effects to the patient because of this (and will be following up with the patient and their health care provider to be sure), we take any mistake seriously and are investigating the circumstances in this situation.13
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Click here to view References:
1 Thompson S. Loudoun County pharmacy gave wrong coronavirus vaccine doses to 112 children, officials say. The Washington Post Nov. 11, 2021.
2 Press release. FDA Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Children 5 through 11 Years of Age. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Oct. 29, 2021.
3 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Vaccination for Children 5 through 11 Years Old. Nov. 3, 2021.
4 Smith C. Virginia Pharmacy Gave Wrong COVID Vaccine Dosage to Children 5-11. NBC Washington Nov. 10, 2021.
5 Thompson S. Loudoun County pharmacy gave wrong coronavirus vaccine doses to 112 children, officials say. The Washington Post Nov. 11, 2021.
9 7NewsStaff. 3 children receive wrong dose of COVID vaccine at Loudoun County CVS pharmacy. WJLA Nov. 12, 2021.
10 NeedWAAY TV. 2 TEXAS CHILDREN ACCIDENTALLY RECEIVE ADULT DOSES OF COVID-19 VACCINE. Nov. 4, 2021.
12 Tavss J. Utah child, 5, mistakenly given adult COVID vaccine dose at Midvale clinic. Fox 13 Now Nov. 12, 2021.