A mother and father from Indiana wanted flu shots for their four-year-old son and five-year-old daughter, but a local Walgreens pharmacy gave them shots of the COVID-19 vaccine for adults.
In an interview with CNN, Alexandra and Joshua Price said their children had been experiencing some worrying side effects since their vaccination on October 4. Lukas and Sophia had seen a doctor and are currently undergoing treatments with a pediatric cardiologist for tachycardia (for Lukas) and elevated blood pressure (for Sophia).
The parents, however, are raising their concerns as Sophia's condition is not improving. Children may have elevated blood pressure if this falls over the 90th percentile. Alexandra said that Sophia's blood pressure is still in the 98th percentile. The parents also said that their daughter has had no energy since getting the wrong vaccination.
Alexandra and Joshua got a call from Walgreens some 90 minutes after the kids were vaccinated and informed them that there was a mix-up. Before this call, the parents noticed that their kids were not feeling well and developed fevers after the shots.
After confirming the mistake, the parents asked Walgreens for proof of vaccination cards to show these to doctors in case there was an emergency. According to the parents, Walgreens pharmacy hesitated because they wanted to get their legal team involved.
When Walgreens did not issue the cards, the Price couple also got their own lawyers. They received the vaccination proof the next day, which indicated that the children were administered Pfizer shots.
The authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids below 11 years old has not yet come through with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency said that they would announce the authorization sometime before the end of October.
In a statement to CNN, Walgreens said that these mistakes are "rare" since they undergo a series of safety checks to ensure that there will be no human error. However, the company refused to comment on the mix-up and upheld privacy laws.
In September, a Walgreens pharmacy in Maryland mistakenly inoculated a 4-year-old girl with a COVID-19 vaccine instead of a flu shot. While the girl did not exhibit any adverse reactions and was even happy to be protected from COVID-19, Walgreens still got in touch with the family. The girl's parents said they would not file a complaint with the Maryland Board of Pharmacy.
Kids Will Generally Be OK
Dr. Peter Hotez of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine said that the difference between the COVID-19 vaccine shot for adults versus kids is that the former is three times higher in dosage. Hotez said that while getting a higher dose may be a cause of concern, he believes that the children will generally be alright with proper monitoring. The parents may view this as getting two shots and a booster.
In the initial vaccine trials for kids under 11 years old, a group was actually given 30 micrograms of Pfizer, the same dosage for the adults. Ultimately, however, the study experts determined that 10 micrograms would be sufficient.
Gigi Gronvall of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said that children receive lower doses to avoid the side effects, but they will generally respond well to the COVID-19 vaccine, which will protect them from severe illness. Brian Castrucci from the De Beaumont Foundation said that while errors may happen, it's not intended to cause any harm as the COVID-19 vaccine is not a poison.
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