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Attorney: Indiana family mistakenly given COVID vaccines instead of flu shots
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Attorney: Indiana family mistakenly given COVID vaccines instead of flu shots

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COVID-19 vaccine

A health care worker holds a vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Miami.

A family of four says it was mistakenly given COVID-19 vaccines instead of flu shots at a Walgreens pharmacy in Indiana, according to local reports.

The Evansville family’s attorney spoke to two Indiana TV stations regarding what they said was an accidental shot mix-up at their local Walgreens this month. The family of two adults and two kids, ages 4 and 5, have not been publicly identified.

Attorney Daniel Tuley, also of Evansville, says the four family members went to Walgreens wanting the annual flu shot, according to WFIE. They left thinking that’s the shot they each received.

But about 90 minutes later, a pharmacy employee called to explain the vaccine mistake, WEHT reported.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, also known as Comirnaty, has not been approved for children under 12, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. There are currently no COVID-19 vaccines approved for that age group.

In late September, Pfizer announced it submitted data from a study to the FDA regarding its vaccine in kids ages 5 to 11, according to McClatchy News. The study tested using a “lower dose” of the shots, unlike the doses the family says they received at Walgreens. Children 12 and up currently receive the adult dosage.

In a statement to McClatchy News, Walgreens spokesperson Kris Lathan said Walgreens cannot comment on “specific patient events” because of privacy laws.

“However, in general, such instances are rare and Walgreens takes these matters very seriously,” Lathan said. ”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.”

Tuley says the family’s children are both sick, and a pediatric cardiologist found heart issues in the kids following the vaccine, according to WEHT. The family has reported this to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the lawyer.

Last month, McClatchy News reported a Walgreens pharmacist in Maryland mistakenly injected a 4-year-old with the Pfizer vaccine instead of the desired flu shot.

Following the incident, Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso told McClatchy News that safety checks are in place, and they’ve “recently reviewed this process with our pharmacy staff in order to prevent a future occurrence.”

“Patient safety is our top priority,” Caruso said. “Events like this are extremely rare and we take this matter very seriously. We are in touch with the patient’s family and we have apologized.”

At the time, WBFF reported the family wasn’t planning to file a formal complaint with Maryland regulators.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children 12 years and older, and without any contraindications, receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This is similar to the CDC’s recommendation.

The CDC says that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis — inflammation of the heart — have been reported in adolescents and young adults who received mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, though “these reports are rare.”

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