National Mishaps with the COVID-19 Vaccine


Photo by: Steven Cornfield

94.8 million Americans have already been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and about 140 million have received at least the first dose according to Google Statistics. While this number is constantly increasing the vaccination process hasn’t been perfect, with many vaccination mistakes occurring throughout the country.

77 Iowa prisoners were overdosed with the Pfizer vaccine on April 20, some receiving over six times the allotted amount according to the Des Moines Register. The incident occurred in the male only Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison where two medical professionals were giving out the COVID-19 vaccine incorrectly. The overdose led to inmates experiencing severe symptoms of fever, body aches, and more, but none needed hospitalization. According to ABC News, when contacted with this issue both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pfizer said not to expect any major side effects, but that the affected inmates should be closely monitored for at least 48 hours.

This incident has led to a pause in the administration of vaccines within the prison until a thorough investigation is completed. The Des Moines Register also reported that the assistant director of the Iowa Poison Control Center said his agency has received a handful of reports of COVID-19 vaccine overdoses in the state, making this incident one of many.

A Walgreens in North Carolina mistakenly gave shots of saline instead of the vaccine to customers according to the Charlotte Observer. Once the company realized the mistake it contacted the customers who received saline and rescheduled their appointments. The mistake occurred because the pharmacists giving out the vaccine forgot to add the Pfizer vaccine to the saline. It was only after closing when the staff noticed that they had too many vaccines left over, that they realized their mistake. Lisa Strawn, a woman affected by this incident told WRAL News about her experience saying, “There were several people they were having to call because there was like a big stack of papers there. Be careful and check behind them.”

A vaccination site in Cumming, Georgia giving out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had to halt its distribution due to several people having adverse reactions. According to 11 Alive News, this led to the Georgia Department of Public Health pausing the J&J vaccine April 13, but is now allowed to resume as of April 23. This decision came after the CDC announced that after further investigation the benefits of the J&J vaccine outweigh the risks.

According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices the main reported errors with the COVID-19 vaccine have been dilution errors, vaccine and monoclonal antibody mix-ups, waste of vaccine doses, administration to the wrong age group, and allergic reactions due to the vaccine.