Sutter Health gives 14 pediatric patients wrong dose of COVID vaccine

Sutter Health pediatricians are looking into what went wrong when some children at their Antioch office got double the amount of COVID vaccine that they would normally have gotten in a single shot. 

A total of 14 children received the incorrect dose of Pfizer on Saturday. They should have gotten 10 micrograms of vaccine, but instead were given 20, Sutter Health confirmed to KTVU on Tuesday. 

Dr. Jimmy Hu, chair of the Sutter Health COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, wrote in a statement to KTVU that as soon as they learned about what had happened, parents were contacted and advised of guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for this situation.  

"According to the CDC, patients who receive vaccine with an incorrect diluent volume may experience more arm soreness, fatigue, headache, or a fever in response to the dose given," said Hu. 

MORE: Thousands at Oakland Coliseum received wrong vaccine dosage, medical staff say

This follows news late last week on the other side of the country, in Virginia and Texas, where there were reports of hundreds of children there getting the adult dose of the COVID vaccine by mistake.

In that case, UCSF infectious disease professor Dr. Monica Gandhi said that "it definitely is not going to be dangerous. I know this is going to be frustrating for these parents and i hope that this raises awareness and puts more quality checks into place."

The father of two boys who received more than the recommended dose told KTVU off camera that they were contacted nine hours after the vaccines were administered. He said his sons stayed home from school on Monday with stomach aches, but returned to school Tuesday.

Gandhi said Pfizer studied giving children in the 5 to 11 age group 20 micrograms during clinical trials, but ultamtely decided to go with a 10 microgram dose because it was the smallest dose possible.

It is unclear if any young patients at Sutter experienced sickness or symptoms from receiving the wrong dose in this case. 

However, Gandhi said that these children should be just fine and that problems like these are very rare. She added that the 14 children should still get a second dose of the vaccine, but wait longer than the standard three weeks to do that. 

"I would wait six weeks, to get the second dose," she said. 

Gandhi said this should not deter parents from getting their children vaccinated against COVID-19. 

"This vaccine is really important for children," she said. "They can get sick. It prevents transmission to others. We want life to get back to normal, so don't let a couple of stray incidents that should not have happened deter you from vaccinating your kids."

In March, thousands of adults received a less-than-optimal dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Oakland Coliseum. Most experts said that as long as people got their second shot, they should receive the full benefits of the vaccine. There were no public reports of illness from that underdosing. 

Sutter immediately reviewed its processes to make sure the mistake does not happen again and Hu said the safety of its patients is a priority. 

The CDC approved the COVID vaccine in smaller doses for the 5 to 11 year-old age group at the beginning of the month. 

White House officials said about 900,000 children in the newly eligible age group received their first dose in the first week it became available.

KTVU's Cristina Rendon contributed to this report.