Indiana Couple Says Kids Got COVID Vaccines Rather Than Flu Shots

Carolyn Crist

October 14, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

A couple in Indiana took their kids to get flu shots last week but say the pharmacy mistakenly gave them adult doses of the COVID-19 vaccine instead, according to WFIE, an NBC affiliate in Evansville.

Alexandra and Joshua Price said they went to a Walgreens on Oct. 4 so the family could get flu shots. A pharmacist called after they returned home and reported that they were accidentally given the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, which is not yet authorized for children under age 12.

The Prices took their 4-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter to a pediatric cardiologist, who said their daughter had high blood pressure and their son had a rapid heartbeat.

"You hope it's just the stress from being at the doctor's office and unfamiliar response, but at the same time, you're like, 'What if it's not?'" Alexandra Price told the news station.

The Prices told WFIE that both children have had symptoms, such as a cough and fever, and they have follow-up doctor appointments this week. The couple sought representation from a personal injury lawyer, but a lawsuit hasn't yet been filed on their behalf.

"You worry constantly. They've been sleeping in our bed in our room since Monday night of last week, so we can keep an eye on them," Alexandra Price said. "No one knows what to expect because there's not a lot out there to help us."

A Walgreens spokeswoman issued a statement but said the company couldn't comment on the case.

"Patient safety is our top priority, and due to privacy laws, we cannot comment on specific patient events," she told the  Evansville Courier & Press .

"But generally speaking, such instances are rare and Walgreens takes these matters very seriously," she wrote. "In the event of any error, our first concern is always our patients' well-being. Our multi-step vaccination procedure includes several safety checks to minimize the chance of human error, and we have reviewed this process with our pharmacy staff in order to prevent such occurrences."

A similar incident happened in Baltimore in September, when a couple and their 4-year-old daughter went to a Walgreens pharmacy for flu shots. The girl was mistakenly given the COVID-19 vaccine instead, according to The Baltimore Sun .

Pfizer announced last week that it requested FDA authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5-11. Clinical trial data has shown that the vaccine is safe and effective for the age group, though at one-third of the dose given to adults and adolescents. The FDA and CDC will need to authorize the vaccine, and an independent review panel is scheduled for Oct. 26.

Sources

WFIE: "Exclusive: Family talks to 14 news about claims of vaccine mistake at Walgreens."

Evansville Courier & Press: "Evansville family says Walgreens made frightening vaccine blunder with their children."

The Baltimore Sun: "Baltimore 4-year-old accidentally given COVID vaccine."

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