Medical workers in Prince George's County, Maryland, gave dozens of children ages 5-11 expired COVID-19 vaccines after they were mistakenly stored in the refrigerator with usable doses, the county health department says.
There's no health risk to the 70 children who received either their first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Friday, Nov. 26 at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, but the expired doses are likely to be less effective, Health officials said Thursday.
A provider that wasn't able to use 300 pediatric Pfizer doses before they expired on Nov. 24 transferred the doses to the clinic at the complex. HealthCare Dynamics International administered all but 70 of the doses before that expiration date, but mistakenly stored the rest in the refrigerator with viable vaccines, the county health department said.
On Nov. 26, the remaining doses, at that point expired, were mistakenly placed on a tray with viable doses and were administered at the clinic that day. The Department has reported the error to MDH and to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
“We deeply regret the error and we apologize for the concern and inconvenience this has caused families,” Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Health, Human Services, and Education Dr. George L. Askew said in the release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health and Pfizer recommend the children receive a replacement dose to ensure they have the most protection possible against COVID-19, the health department said.
The health department said it will have special private clinics only for affected families at its Cheverly Health Center at 3003 Hospital Drive in Cheverly on Sunday, Dec. 5 and Sat. Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Walk-ins and appointments are accepted.
“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. 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.”
If the families want to get revaccinated sooner, they're also invited to attend any of the regular clinics offered at select elementary and high schools as well as at the Sports and Learning Complex. For additional public and private COVID-19 vaccine clinic schedules, including a clinic locator mapping tool and a mobile clinic calendar, visit mypgc.us/COVIDvaccine. If families have transportation difficulties and need assistance getting to a clinic, they can contact the County’s Department of Public Works & Transportation hotline at 301-499-8603.
Carter said the vaccination vendor at the Sports and Learning Complex was retrained on vaccine storage and administration protocols, and the vendor assured county officials it has taken corrective action to prevent the issue from happening again.