Nov. 12, 2021 — A Virginia pharmacy was ordered to stop dispensing its COVID-19 vaccine after it gave the wrong dose to an estimated 112 children this month, The Washington Postreported.
The Ted Pharmacy in Aldie gave the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, designed for ages 12 and older, to children ages 5-11 on Nov. 3 and 4, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Children ages 12 and older should receive a 0.3 milliliter dose, while children ages 5-11 should receive a 0.2 milliliter dose, the CDC says.
The pharmacy was trying to give the vaccine in smaller amounts, so the younger children may have been given the wrong dosage, the chief of Loudon County’s health department told the After.
“Because they didn’t have the children’s formulation, they used the adults’ formulation but gave only a third of the amount to the children,” says David Goodfriend, MD, the director of the provincial health department. “Our understanding of Ted Pharmacy is that they were trying to find a workaround, which is not allowed.”
When trying to lower the dosage, it’s easy to give the wrong amount, he said. The kids may have gotten too little vaccine, or too much, he said. But a child who received too much vaccine probably wouldn’t be harmed, he told the paper.
The provincial health department sent a letter to the parents of the affected children recommending that they contact their caregivers. Citing CDC guidelines, the letter said parents could wait 3 weeks and restart the child’s two-shot series at the appropriate dosage, or continue to have the child receive the second dose as scheduled.
Ester Megally, listed in company records as the owner of Ted Pharmacy, declined to comment.
“It’s a working day for us now, and we’re a bit busy. I’m sorry,” she said to the… After.
After learning of the issue, the Virginia Department of Health ordered Ted Pharmacy to stop administering the vaccine and collected all vaccines from the pharmacy. The health ministry said it had not received any other complaints about pharmacies giving the wrong dosage to children aged 5-11.
Goodfriend said an observant parent noticed the problem. The vaccine for younger children comes in a vial with an orange cap, while the vaccine for older children has a purple cap.
A Loudon County mother said her 7-year-old daughter was one of the children given the wrong dosage.
“I would never have done this if I had known that they would give the reformulated adult vaccine. Absolutely not,” Dasha Hermosilla told TV-set. WTTG. “I should have pushed her [the pharmacy employee] to show me the bottle of orange she didn’t have, and then I should have left.”