EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Alexandra and Joshua Price just wanted flu shots for themselves and their 4- and 5-year-old kids — but they say Walgreens pharmacy gave them adult doses of COVID-19 vaccine instead.
That was a week ago, the Prices told a lawyer and WFIE-NBC14. The couple told the local television station that Walgreens called after they got home to report they were mistakenly given the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which is not yet authorized for children younger than 12.
Alarmed, the Prices said they took their 4-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter to a pediatric cardiologist. The doctor told them the girl was experiencing high blood pressure and the boy tachycardia, a rapid heartbeat.
Video: Pfizer announces COVID-19 vaccine is safe for kids
"You hope it's just the stress from being at the doctor's office and unfamiliar response, but at the same time you're like, 'What if it's not?'" Alexandra Price told WFIE.
"You worry constantly. They've been sleeping in our bed in our room since Monday night of last week, so we can keep an eye on them, and it's just — no one knows what to expect because there's not a lot out there to help us."
A Walgreens spokeswoman sent a statement to the Courier & Press in response to an inquiry about the incident.
"Patient safety is our top priority, and due to privacy laws, we cannot comment on specific patient events," Walgreens stated.
"But generally speaking, such instances are rare and Walgreens takes these matters very seriously. 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."
Pfizer and BioNTech, its German vaccine partner, announced last week that they have asked federal regulators to authorize emergency use of their coronavirus vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. They released data from a clinical trial last month indicating their vaccine was safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11 — but only at one-third of the dose given to adolescents and adults.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will need to sign off on the vaccine before it becomes available to children of those ages. An independent expert panel will review the data Oct. 26.
A similar incident happened Sept. 18 in Baltimore, Maryland, when a couple and their 4-year-old daughter went to a Walgreens for flu shots and the pharmacy mistakenly injected the girl with Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine instead.
“That’s not going to happen often,” Brian Castrucci, a Bethesda-based epidemiologist, told the Baltimore Sun newspaper. "We should never have an error in our care, but this is an error that caused no harm. This isn’t a poison.”
The FDA has said vaccination providers are required to report vaccine administration errors, regardless of whether they are associated with an adverse event, to the federal government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
Joshua Price told the Courier & Press Monday that personal injury lawyer Daniel Tuley, who is representing the couple, had instructed them not to speak to anyone who reaches out about the incident at Walgreens.
There's no record as yet of Tuley filing a lawsuit on the Prices' behalf. WFIE reported the local attorney did provide the TV station with what he called the family's vaccination cards from Walgreens. They show children born in 2016 and 2017 were given the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Oct. 4.
Alexandra Price has posted about the incident on Facebook. She told one questioner that she and her husband were already vaccinated against COVID-19, "so this is like our booster shot."
"We were told 'sorry....a mistake was made,'" she wrote on Oct. 4. "YOU BET YOUR ASS A MISTAKE WAS MADE!!!!! (The couple's son) is running a fever....highest was 100.5....it's lowered since ibuprofen to 99.9! In all seriousness.....recommendations on a lawyer?????!!!"
She has reported steadily since then on the kids' conditions.
As of Monday, WFIE reported that the Prices say the 4-year-old boy has been sick with a fever and a cough. The family says the 5-year-old girl has developed a fever, according to WFIE.
The Prices told the local TV station that both children have doctor's appointments this week.
This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Family says Walgreens gave COVID vaccine to kids instead of flu shot