A Loudon County, Virginia, pharmacy has been removed from the state’s vaccination program after a pharmacist mistakenly gave 112 children adult doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, state health officials said Wednesday.
Ted Pharmacy in Aldie told the Virginia Department of Health that their business had accidentally given the children diluted doses of the Pfizer vaccine meant for those ages 12 and older. The kids who received the erroneous doses were 5 to 11 years old.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that kids should receive an “age-appropriate dose.” However, despite the children receiving diluted doses of the adult vaccine, the CDC says parents should still wait 21 days and monitor for side effects before giving their child the proper dose.
These side effects, just as in any normal case of the COVID vaccine, can reportedly include fever, chills, pain, and fatigue.
One parent, Dasha Hermosilla, told WRC-TV that, despite voicing concerns about her child getting the wrong shot, the pharmacist allegedly told her that it was fine for her daughter to receive the adult dose of the vaccine.
Beyond being labeled as different doses on the vials, the caps of the children’s and adult vaccine doses are different colors to make them easily identifiable.
Upon a quick internet search, Hermosilla was unable to find any medical information that would corroborate the pharmacist, stating that “[nothing online] says you can change [the vaccines].”
“I had this pit in my stomach like, what did they just do to my daughter?” she added. “There are dozens and dozens of families out there that don’t even know that this is an issue.”
Many other parents also spoke out against the actions of Ted Pharmacy, stating that the business had downplayed the erroneous doses. “The way they have dealt with individuals is really, like, ‘Oh, it’s no big deal,'” Hermosilla continued.
The pharmacy reportedly referred to the incidents as mistakes and apologized to its customers for the “inconvenience.”
The Virginia Board of Pharmacy has also reportedly opened an investigation into the matter, but this information has not been confirmed. However, the Loudon County Health Department did release a statement, saying that Ted Pharmacy would no longer be authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The pharmacy who administered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination to your child last week has been removed from both state and federal COVID-19 vaccination programs,” the health department stated in a letter to parents.
The pharmacy reportedly also voluntarily returned the rest of its vaccine stockpile to the state health department. It is unknown whether the pharmacy will be allowed to resume administering the vaccine in the future.
On its website, Ted Pharmacy calls itself a “community staple” that has “proudly taken on the role of improving our communities’ health care by providing fast and personalized service.” The pharmacy opened in 2018 and averages 4.3 out of 5 stars in online reviews.
Newsweek has reached out to the CDC for comment.