A family of four from Indiana, including two young kids, says they went to their local Walgreens to get the flu shot but instead received the COVID-19 vaccine. The Evansville family—two adults and two children ages 4 and 5—say they left the Walgreens thinking they'd received the annual flu shot as requested, according to a Monday statement released through their lawyer. About 90 minutes later, however, they received a phone call from a pharmacy employee, who explained they'd all received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which hasn't yet been approved by the FDA for children under 12, per McClatchy.
While Pfizer has applied for emergency use authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 5, that vaccine is a third of the potency of the doses meant for adults, which this family would've received. The statement from attorney Daniel Tuley notes both children are experiencing side effects, including fever, body aches, cough, headache, and nausea. It adds the 4-year-old, who's had a fever for more than a week, is being treated by a pediatric cardiologist for high blood pressure and a rapid heart rate. The family has contacted the CDC while medical professionals continue to monitor the children's conditions, per WFLA.
Walgreens spokesperson Kris Lathan tells McClatchy that "such instances are rare and Walgreens takes these matters very seriously." Lathan adds that pharmacy staff are reviewing "our multistep vaccination procedure," which "includes several safety checks to minimize the chance of human error," to prevent repeat occurrences. A rep said much the same last month when a Walgreens pharmacist in Maryland mistakenly gave the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a 4-year-old girl who was also to receive the flu shot. She didn't experience any major side effects but "all of us were just stunned," mother Victoria Olivier told the Baltimore Sun. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)