4-year-old mistakenly gets COVID vaccine instead of flu shot at Maryland Walgreens

·2 min read

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to make clear who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

A Maryland pharmacist mistakenly injected 4-year-old Colette Olivier with the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine instead of the flu shot.

Colette’s mom, Victoria Olivier, said the pharmacist’s clinical error was a “record-scratch” moment that she feared could have serious consequences for her daughter, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“All of us were just stunned,” Olivier told the newspaper. “No one really knew what to do, of course.”

Colette received the vaccine on Sept. 18 and has not experienced any major side effects, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Walgreens said safety checks are in place and that “we’ve recently reviewed this process with our pharmacy staff in order to prevent a future occurrence,” Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso told McClatchy News.

“Patient safety is our top priority,” Caruso said. “Events like this are extremely rare and we take this matter very seriously. We are in touch with the patient’s family and we have apologized.”

Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are only available for children ages 12 and older, along with all U.S. adults,, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Pfizer vaccine is not yet approved for children under 12, though the company said Tuesday that it has submitted research to the FDA and is hopeful that the shots could be ready in November, according to The Associated Press.

Moderna, meanwhile, is testing its vaccine “in elementary school-aged children. Results are expected later in the year,” AP reported.

The Olivier family isn’t planning on filing a formal complaint with Maryland regulators to investigate the incident, WBFF reported.

Medical experts told the Baltimore Sun that although the pharmacist’s error was frightening, “it should not dictate how other families feel about seeking medical care or vaccinations for their children.”

Parents with kids under 12 are split when it comes to vaccinating their children.

A Gallup poll released Tuesday found that 55% of parents with children under 12 plan to get them vaccinated, and 45% of parents said they won’t.

Still, the American Association of Pediatrics currently discourages medical professionals from injecting vaccines in children under 12.

“The dose may be different for younger ages,” the group said in a news release. “The AAP recommends against giving the vaccine to children under 12 [years] until authorized by the FDA.”

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