Australia

Aged care residents given incorrect Pfizer vaccine doses ‘show no signs of adverse reaction,’ Greg Hunt says

Health Minister Greg Hunt says two aged care residents are showing no adverse effects after they were each given a higher than the recommended dose of the Pfizer/BioTech coronavirus vaccine in Queensland.

Two patients – an 88-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman – were administered the incorrect dose of the vaccine at an aged care facility Brisbane on Tuesday.

Mr Hunt moved to soothe concerns over the incident on Wednesday, saying it demonstrated the importance of the safeguards which “immediately kicked into action”.

He said a nurse had intervened after identifying the issue, and that the monitoring of the patients was ongoing.

The doctor who administered the incorrect doses has been stood down from the vaccination program. 

“Both patients are showing no signs at all of an adverse reaction,” Mr Hunt told reporters.

He said the individual practitioner had “clearly made an error”, with both doses administered consecutively.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said some patients were given higher doses during clinical trials of the vaccine, and “the side effect data was not a high problem”.

He also said they were aware of similar incidents in aged care facilities overseas, with minimal side effects.

“That gives us hope. However, when we were notified of this yesterday evening … we took immediate action,” Professor Kelly said.

Mr Hunt said the deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd would review the incident and make recommendations.

“Every participant can only participate in providing vaccinations so long as they have had the training, so we will examine what were the circumstances, that will be ongoing, and we’ll provide public guidance,” he said.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT, Tasmania

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