Young children were given adult doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in seven cases, with one child having a mild adverse effect, the health products regulator has said.
A child’s dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, known as Comirnaty, is 10mg and the adult dose is 30mg. The HSE had to issue a notice reminding vaccinators not to confuse the two as this essentially is an overdose.
The errors came to light when children came to mass vaccination centres for their second dose, and vaccinators spotted incorrect information on their card.
“All seven reports were in association with the first dose of Comirnaty, with the majority administered in vaccination centres and the remaining administered in pharmacy/GP practice setting,” a spokeswoman for the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) said.
“No suspected side-effects were described as being experienced in six of the reports with one report describing fatigue for a short duration.”
The 30mg dose of the Pfizer vaccine has a purple cap on the vial. The 10mg dose for children aged five to 11 has an orange cap. The HSE’s National Immunisation Office (NIO) has requested all staff in mass vaccination centres be reminded of this difference.
“Cormirnaty vaccine for those aged 12 and older (purple cap) is not to be administered to children aged 5-11 years,” the reminder notice states.
“Parents of children in this age group who wish to have their children vaccinated should be directed to the HSE website to make an appointment at a HSE website.”
A separate bulletin issued by the NIO at the end of January also warned against confusing the two vaccines using capital letters with the text highlighted in red.
By February 2, just over one month into this roll-out, 17.3% of children aged 5-11 were partially vaccinated and 3.1% fully vaccinated according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). The rate for teens aged 12 to 17 is 75.6% fully vaccinated with 3.2% partially vaccinated.
The roll-out opened in mid-August. Booster doses are available to over-16s and some younger people vulnerable to Covid-19. HPSC data shows 67.4% of over-18s are boosted, and 13.8% of children aged 12 to 17.
Paediatric data up to Sunday shows three children in ICUs because of Covid-19 across CHI at Crumlin and CHI at Temple Street, out of 17 occupied beds.
Children in other regions who are in need of critical care are transferred to these specialist units. There were 26 children with Covid-19 hospitalised across the three Dublin children’s hospitals.
On Monday there were 76 Covid patients in ICUs, the fifth consecutive day numbers have risen slightly. There were 643 Covid patients in hospitals, up from 581 on Saturday.
On Monday, 3,975 Covid-cases were confirmed with PCR testing. This follows 6,260 on Saturday and 4,933 on Sunday. Antigen test results show 4,717 positives from Friday, 3,803 from Saturday and 4,478 from Sunday, the Department of Health said.