A number of children were given an expired dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Maryland the day after Thanksgiving.
Prince George’s County health department announced that at least 70 children had received the faulty doses at the Sports and Learning Complex.
While the department says there is no risk to receiving an expired vaccine, it also added that the children should all receive an additional dose to ensure they are protected from COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health, and Pfizer all affirmed this protocol.
All the children involved were between the ages of 5 and 11.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a low dose version of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group on Oct. 29. It said the company “had met the criteria for emergency use authorization.”
“The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children age 5 through 11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study,” the FDA told caregivers in its announcement.
“In the U.S., COVID-19 cases in children 5 through 11 years of age make up 39% of cases in individuals younger than 18 years of age,” the agency said. “Based on the totality of scientific evidence available, the known and potential benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in individuals down to 5 years of age outweigh the known and potential risks.”
Under its regulations, children between the age of 5 and 11 receive a two-dose vaccine regime over the course of three weeks. Each dose is 10 micrograms, whereas a child over the age of 12 receives two doses of 30 micrograms.
Following the discovery of the vaccine error in Maryland, Chief Administrative Officer for Health, Human Services, and Education Dr. George L. Askew said in a statement, “An expired dose may not provide the maximum protection that these vaccines give and that’s why the County quickly made arrangements for each of these children to get revaccinated.”
“The vaccination vendor at the site of the clinic was retrained on vaccine storage and administrative protocol after the incident,” reports The Charlotte Observer. “Children can either be revaccinated at one of the special clinics arranged by the health department or at any of the regular clinics within the county.”
Earlier this month, over 100 children in the same age group in Virginia were given vaccines intended for an older age group.
Parents in Indiana reported in October that their children were given the COVID-19 vaccine instead of the flu shot.
“When they called us and told us that they had made a mistake and had given us the wrong shot, I was just in shock,” Alexandra Price, the mother of a 4- and 5-year-old involved, told CNN. “All I could say to them was, ‘What does this mean for my kids?'”