'Become advocates.' Pharmacist alerts other parents after own child given wrong COVID vaccine

COVID vaccination card
Posted at 6:47 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 11:47:59-05

SMYRNA, Tenn. (WTVF) — A mother in Brentwood doesn't want other children to wind up with an adult-sized COVID-19 shot in their arm like her child did.

On Monday night, Melissa Schuster says her 11-year-old was supposed to get their second child-sized dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Walgreens on Sam Ridley Parkway in Smyrna. Instead, the child was given the Pfizer shot made for adults.

Schuster is a licensed pharmacist and is now encouraging other parents at their child's appointments to be more vocal than she was.

"My wish for this is for parents to become advocates and look more closely," Schuster said. "Have the freedom to say, 'I want to see what vial that came from' because I didn't do that and I know better."

The COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is in a bottle with an orange cap. The vaccine for older people has a purple cap.

After learning about the mix-up in a phone call, Schuster filed a complaint with the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy.

"That's exceptionally dangerous. At this point, I looked at the vaccine card. It has the same exact lot number on it for doses one and two. If my child got the adult vaccine, the lot number is not going to be the same, but at this point I don't know which COVID vaccine they got. I don't even know if it was a COVID vaccine," she said.

Fortunately, Schuster's child has not had a bad reaction to the adult COVID-19 vaccine.

A Walgreens spokesperson issued this statement, but would not say if any other children received the wrong vaccine.

"In general, events like these are rare and we take this matter very seriously," A Walgreens spokesperson wrote in a statement. "In the event of any error, our first concern is always for a patient's 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."