Sutter Health Admits To Giving Wrong COVID Vaccine Dosage To 14 Children at Antioch Clinic – CBS San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Fourteen children were given the wrong dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this weekend at Sutter Health’s pediatric clinic in Antioch, the health system confirmed Tuesday.
In a statement, Dr. Jimmy Hu, chair of the Sutter Health COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, said the children’s parents and federal officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been contacted.
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“This weekend, 14 patients at our pediatric vaccine clinic in Antioch received vaccines containing an incorrect amount of diluent,” Hu said. “As soon as we learned about this, we reached out to the parents and advised them on CDC guidance in this situation. The safety of our patients is our top priority and we immediately reviewed our processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Hu said the children could experience adverse effects from the dosage.
“According to the CDC, patients who receive a vaccine with an incorrect volume of diluent may experience increased arm pain, fatigue, headache or fever in response to the given dose,” he said.
Health officials say children ages 5 to 11 should receive one-third of the dose given to teens and adults. That is 10 micrograms per injection for young people, compared to 30 micrograms per injection for everyone aged 12 years and older. Like everyone else, the younger children receive two injections, three weeks apart.
“The children received more than the 5-11-year-old dose (10 micrograms) and about 2/3 the dose of what a 12-year-old or older would receive (30 micrograms),” Sutter officials said.
UCSF infectious disease expert, Dr. Monica Gandhi, said she is telling parents not to let the accident stop them from getting their children vaccinated.
“You know, I think it’s great for you and others in the media to talk about it because human errors happen,” said Dr. Gandhi. “It’s important to create these stories and explain them to people so that everyone who handles these vaccines is careful and thinks about ways to eliminate human error.”
Gandhi said he did not expect the children who were given the wrong dosage to develop health problems.
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“In terms of these particular kids, if they get 20 micrograms instead of 10, I doubt there will be any long-term effects.”
Brett Rafighi said he heard about the confusion at Sutter’s pediatric clinic over the weekend, but it didn’t stop him from taking his child to the county clinic on Tuesday.
“Didn’t stop me,” Rafighi said on Tuesday. “I’d rather they’re safe if they’re in a crossfire somewhere or something, and they’re not vaccinated.”
“The vaccine comes as a kind of powder,” explains Gandhi. “Then you put normal saline in it, dilute it, and it can stay in the fridge for 10 weeks. It seems they diluted it with too little saline so they gave a couple of kids twice the dose.”
It was a mixing error on Sutter. The result was a stronger dose, but not even a full adult dose. In fact, it was probably about what Pfizer initially intended to have children.
“The Pfizer vaccine was already being tested at 20 micrograms for this age group at one point,” Gandhi said. “It really is a very safe dose. They agreed at 10. I’m sure there’s no harm to the kids. It’s just a reminder for us and the healthcare industry to be careful. The vaccines are really safe. This dose is fine. Pfizer could have taken this dose for children. The vaccines are really effective. We want to vaccinate our children. Don’t worry that this is a widespread problem. It’s not.”
Last week, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly that more than 110,000 Californians ages 5 to 11 had received their first coronavirus shot — 9% of children that age in the state.
“We’re starting to see this improvement and I’m really encouraged about what this means for our state,” Ghaly said.
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Wilson Walker contributed to this story.