A doctor who administered the incorrect dose of the Pfizer/BioTech coronavirus vaccine will be reported to the national regulator over the incident.
Two patients – an 88-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman – were administered the incorrect dose of the vaccine at a Holy Spirit Nursing Home in Brisbane’s Carseldine on Tuesday.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says the doctor – who is no longer involved in the vaccine rollout – had completed all necessary training but got the dosage wrong.
“The doctor involved did the wrong thing and that is a case of human error, a case of unacceptable human error,” Mr Hunt told parliament on Wednesday.
“All of the necessary required steps involving training were carried out.”
Mr Hunt rejected the notion the incident would harm public confidence in the vaccine rollout.
The elderly pair were the only two to receive shots at Brisbane’s Holy Spirit Nursing Home on Tuesday, with a nurse stepping in after noticing the doses were wrong.
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 the doctor who administered the doses had 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 said they were also 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.
St Vincent’s Care Services, which runs the nursing home, said residents and their families were distressed about the incident involving a doctor employed by Healthcare Australia.
“It’s caused us to question whether some of the clinicians given the job of administering the vaccine have received the appropriate training,” the group said in a statement.
“Before vaccinations are allowed to continue at any of our sites, Healthcare Australia – or any other provider – will need to confirm the training and expertise of the clinicians they’ve engaged, so an incident like this doesn’t happen again.”
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.
With reporting by AAP.
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Aged care residents given incorrect Pfizer vaccine doses ‘show no signs of adverse reaction,’ Greg Hunt says