Pharmacists and health experts nullify the chances of human error in vaccine mix-up as the case of the Indiana family stirs controversy. While the members went to Walgreens last month, the family complained of receiving Covid-19 vaccines, including their 4 and 5-year-old children, by mistake.
However, public health personals assure people of the extremely rare incidence of such mistakes and not to enlist them in common grievances.
The System Assures Safety To Citizens From Vaccine Mix Up Nuances
The Price family was informed about the mistake by the pharmacist after about 90 minutes of receiving their vaccines. They have already been immunized against the virus earlier in the year and that their children were not old enough to receive the shots yet.
The children thus got injected with a dose that was thrice more than the recommended dose for children below the age of 12. The family said that the kids had to be treated by cardiologists as they had experienced side effects from the vaccines.
A spokesperson from Walgreens said that their multistep vaccination procedure goes through a series of thorough checks so as to avoid any form of human error and that they cannot comment on any individual incidence due to privacy concerns. However, they emphasized that safety was their top priority.
According to Jennifer Kertanis, the health director for Farmington Valley Health District, Connecticut, such mistakes are rare, and that a single situation cannot judge the entire system. While it is really unfortunate that sometimes mistakes do happen, the vaccines are administered with utmost care to reduce human errors.
The head of the immunization policy at the American Pharmacists Association, Mitch Rotholtz, said, that vaccine storage and precise administration is very important to avoid any mistake from occurring. Different vaccines are stored in different sections and labeled accordingly.
For instance, sections for Moderna or Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson are well demarcated and any person wanting a specific vaccine is triple checked before administering. He also pressed that people should carry their immunization cards to confirm the vaccine given and the manufacturer of the same in case of second or third shots. With 50,000 successful vaccinations, Rotholz is sure of the safety systems.
Lori Freeman, the CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said that in most clinics, a pre-registration is required before any vaccination schedule. Only after complete verification of a person’s information, that a vaccine is administered.
The clinics usually provide only one kind of vaccine at a time to avoid any confusion and hence, vaccine mistakes are as rare as plane crashes. It is a personal responsibility of the vaccinator he added, where he should inform the person been immunized about the type of vaccine been given to get assured.
In case a person gets wrongly injected, Freeman advises that immediate and clear communication should be made to avoid any serious circumstances, and communication at the right time can help a person get medical assistance timely as the dose can impact the receiver with side effects.
For instance, a child immunized with an adult’s dose is likely to show side effects whereas, for parents, it would be like receiving a booster dose. However, the effect would be a bit less when compared to the duration between the two shots.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine said that the Indiana kids, although under monitoring, should be alright as pediatricians are constantly testing a variety of doses in children.
As for adults, the mixing of vaccines should not be of much concern as they use the same mRNA technology unless one is allergic to a specific mRNA vaccine. Nevertheless, it is suggested to consult a doctor and get checked in case a mix-up happens which is quite unlikely.
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