OAKLAND, Calif. - A team from the California Department of Public Health visited the Oakland Coliseum Thursday, one day after KTVU reported on whistleblower complaints that people didn't get a full dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
A spokesperson with the CDPH sent KTVU an email with the following statement:
"We don’t believe anyone was underdosed at the vaccination site, but out of an abundance of caution, we sent a team to Oakland today to fully evaluate what happened. We will share those results as soon as we can, and if we find that any patient was underdosed and additional action is merited, such as a booster, we will notify those individuals immediately."
KTVU first reported two EMTs at the mass vaccination site said syringes left residual amounts of the Pfizer vaccine behind, up to a third in some cases, instead of pushing out a full dose of .3mL of the vaccine. It’s believed roughly 4,300 people were impacted on Monday before the issue was identified and resolved the same day.
Cal OES spokesman Brian Ferguson told KTVU Wednesday everyone received enough vaccine under criteria set by the federal government and people should not be concerned. KTVU also learned better designed syringes called VanishPoint are also being used at the site, in addition to the syringes in question, but adjustments with those syringes have been made to ensure future patients get a full and acceptable dose of the vaccine.
Ferguson said the state reached out to Pfizer after learning of the residual amounts of vaccine left behind in the syringes. The pharmaceutical company reportedly told them there is only concern if someone receives less than half a dose of the vaccine. Only then should a second shot be administered in the person’s other arm.
"If you get at least 50% of the vaccine you are fine and good and you’ll continue to go into your second dose and if we were notified or thought there was a concern about anyone not getting what they should, we would reach out to them directly," Ferguson said.
More than 40 people reached out to KTVU by email or phone seeking clarification after the whistleblower complaints, including Tony Ursino who received the shot on Monday.
"They shouldn’t be making those decisions in a vacuum without alerting the public," Ursino said. "The public or at least those individuals who got the shot should be alerted so they can make their own decision."
Mark Yates, an attorney and law professor at Golden Gate University, received his shot at the Coliseum site Monday and said Cal OES has a responsibility to follow up and offer clarity.
"Some of us are very high risk and it's very important to know if it happened or not," Yates said. "If it did, why are you so sure that it's not a problem? They really have a duty to give us clear unambiguous answers."