The Ted Pharmacy in Aldie gave the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine designed for children 12 and older to children ages 5-11 on Nov. 3 and 4, the Virginia Department of Health said.
Children 12 and up are supposed to receive a .3-milliliter dose of vaccine, while kids 5-11 should receive a .2-milliliter dose, the CDC says.
The pharmacy tried to give the vaccine in smaller amounts, so the younger children may have gotten the wrong dosage, the head of the Loudon County Health Department told the Post.
“Because they did not have the children’s formulation, they used the adult formulation but only gave a third of the amount to the children,” said David Goodfriend, MD, the county health department director. “Our understanding from Ted Pharmacy is they were trying to do a workaround, which is not authorized.”
In trying to reduce the dosage, it’s easy to give the wrong amount, he said. The children may have gotten too little vaccine, or too much, he said. But a child who got too much vaccine probably would not be harmed, he told the newspaper.
The county health department sent a letter to parents of the affected children recommending they contact their health providers. Citing CDC guidance, the letter said parents could wait 3 weeks and restart the child’s two-shot series in the correct dosage, or proceed with the child getting their second dose as scheduled.
Ester Megally, listed in corporate filings as an owner of Ted Pharmacy, declined to comment.
“It’s a working day for us now, and we are a little bit busy. I’m sorry,” she told the Post.
After learning about the problem, the Virginia Department of Health ordered Ted Pharmacy to stop giving the vaccine and collected all vaccines from the pharmacy. The state health department said it had received no other complaints about pharmacies giving the wrong dosage to children 5-11.
Goodfriend said an observant parent noticed the problem. The vaccine for younger children comes in a vial with an orange cap, while the vaccine for older children has a purple cap.
A Loudon County mother said her 7-year-old daughter was among the children who got the wrong dosage.
"I would have never done this if I knew they were giving the adult reformulated vaccine. Absolutely not," Dasha Hermosilla told TV setation WTTG. "I should’ve pushed her [the pharmacy employee] to show me the vial of orange, which she didn’t have, and then I should’ve left."