A Walgreens pharmacy in Evansville, Indiana, has mistakenly administered the COVID-19 vaccine on two kids instead of flu shots. Five-year-old Sophia and 4-year-old Lukas were administered the vaccine on October 4 after their parents, Joshua and Alexandra Price, took them to the local pharmacy to get their yearly flu shots. Both parents had been fully vaccinated since April.
Alexandra said that nearly two hours after they got home on that day, they got a call from the pharmacist saying there had been a mistake. The children got COVID-19 vaccination instead of flu shots. She said her kids were already getting sick by the time the call came through, and she was simply in shock at the revelation.
“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 said. “All I could say to them was, ‘What does this mean for my kids?’ Lukas started feeling sick before we even got home from Walgreens. He was feeling yucky, lethargic, and already had begun a fever.”
The family was administered with the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which is approved for people 16 and above. Pfizer sought authorization from the FDA to administer the vaccine in small doses to children aged 5-11 on an emergency basis, but it is not clear if this has been approved.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said Sophia and Lukas got three times higher doses of the vaccine that should be given to adults. He said the children will be okay but should be monitored to ensure they are fine.
“They will probably do OK,” Peter Hotez said. “The difference is they got a three times higher dose of a vaccine that is being tested in clinical trials. It is concerning they got a higher dose, and they have to be monitored, but they should do really well. There is a lot of data out there now in 5-year-olds and older.”
A spokesperson for Walgreens, Kris Lathan, said the company does not comment on specific cases, citing privacy laws. She however stated that Walgreens takes the health of customers very seriously and that there are measures in place to prevent human errors from occurring.
“In the event of any error, our first concern is always our patients’ well-being,” Lathan stated. “Our multi-step vaccination procedure includes several safety checks to minimize the chance of human error, and we have reviewed this process with our pharmacy staff in order to prevent such occurrences.”
The Price said their children continue to experience adverse reactions and are being monitored by a pediatric cardiologist.
“Fever, body aches, cough, headaches, and nausea are among the symptoms the children are experiencing,” the Prices’ attorney, Dan Tuley, said. “The 4- and 5-year-old are also under treatment of a pediatric cardiologist for tachycardia and elevated blood pressure, respectively.”