A Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine vial will be given on Jan.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images
A Virginia pharmacy mistakenly administered the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 shots to 112 children last week, according to the Department of Health.
Although Pfizer makes special color-coded vials for younger children to make sure they get the correct dose, employees at a pharmacy in Aldie, Virginia, about 58 km outside of Washington, DC, pulled the doses out of the vials that were intended for each 12 and older.
The CDC last week approved Pfizer’s shots for children ages 5 to 11 with a third of the dosage for older age groups.
“The pharmacy has tried to provide an appropriate dose,” said Dr. Loudoun County’s Department of Health director David Goodfriend told CNBC. He said it appears the pharmacy actually gave about a third of the adult dose, which should be the right amount. However, he said, “a lower dose is possible if not all 0.1 ml has been given into the muscle.”
The Loudon County Health Department warned parents that Ted Pharmacy may have given a lower dose than recommended, according to a letter on Wednesday. State and federal officials told the pharmacy to stop distributing gunfire altogether on Friday before confiscating all of their Covid doses, a Virginia Department of Health spokesman said in a statement.
Goodfriend added that his department is unaware that children are receiving too much vaccine. The Virginia Department of Health said Ted Pharmacy gave the wrong doses of the vaccine November 3-4, within two days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer’s Covid vaccinations for children ages 5-11 .
Children in this age group receive a Covid vaccination with two doses of 10 micrograms, compared to the 30 microgram vaccinations for people 12 years and older.
In the letter, Goodfriend urged parents not to give their children a higher dose of the second vaccination for older age groups and said they should contact their pediatrician “to determine the best course of action for each patient.”
The letter gave parents two options to complete their children’s Covid vaccine series: they can either resume the vaccination process at least 21 days after the wrong dose was given, or complete the second vaccination with the correct 10 microgram dose as scheduled.
“The VDH is also working to contact parents and ensure that they understand the guidelines for the next steps,” said the department’s statement. “VDH has not received any other reports of pharmacies or vendors delivering COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 5 to 11 years old and older.”
Pfizer’s ships its vaccines for 5-11 year olds with orange caps, labels and boxes to distinguish them from the purple packaging on vaccinations for people 12 years and older. The shots also contain new instructions and dilution warnings to help prevent healthcare professionals from mistaking the two shots, Pfizer officials told the Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee on October 26.