About 70 children in Maryland’s Prince George’s County received expired vaccine doses, according to health officials, as they recommended the children get revaccinated for COVID-19.
The Prince George’s County Health Department said it informed the families of those 70 children aged 5 to 11 that they “received expired first or second doses of Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine at the County’s Sports and Learning Complex” on Nov. 26.
The county blamed the incident on a “vaccine storage error,” which occurred when 300 Pfizer doses were transported “from a provider that was unable to administer the doses before they expired on November 24.”
A vendor at the Sports and Learning Complex clinic administered most of the transferred doses before they expired. But 70 remaining doses were not discarded and were mistakenly stored in a refrigerator with other, viable vaccine doses, the country said.
Those remaining doses that had expired were then “mistakenly placed on a tray with viable doses” before they were injected into children on Nov. 26, officials said.
The department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Maryland Department of Health recommend they get re-vaccinated, according to a news release issued by the county.
Furthermore, the county health agency claimed there is “no health risk” from receiving the expired Pfizer vaccine but said that “those doses are likely to be less effective at protecting against COVID-19.”
“We deeply regret the error and we apologize for the concern and inconvenience this has caused families,” George L. Askew, a Prince George’s County health official. “As a pediatrician, I want to assure parents that receiving an expired COVID-19 vaccine dose or receiving a replacement dose does not endanger your child’s health.”
In Virginia last month, a pharmacy allegedly incorrectly administered the wrong vaccine doses for young children aged 5 to 11, instead giving them doses meant for individuals aged 12 and older. About 112 children were affected, state health officials said at the time.
The facility, Ted Pharmacy, tried to “attempted to provide a proper dose” by administering about a third of the adult dose, said Loudoun County Health Department director Dr. David Goodfriend in November.
So far, only the Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by the CDC and Food and Drug Administration for children aged 5 to 11. The CDC signed off on the shots on Nov. 2.
Moderna, another COVID-19 vaccine maker, said in late October that the FDA informed the company that it needs more time to evaluate the company’s shot for 12- to 17-year-olds.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.