Public/Global Health

Texas minors receive COVID-19 vaccine in error

A teen receives a COVID-19 vaccine
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More than a dozen minors in Texas received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at a local hub site due to an error in the state’s waitlisting process.

Dallas Emergency Manager Rocky Vaz sent a memo to Dallas’ city council and mayor on Monday detailing the mistake, according to an NBC News affiliate station.

“Late yesterday evening we learnt that there were about eighteen youth under the age of 18 that were vaccinated at the Potters House. As you are aware, the Moderna vaccine is currently only approved for people over the age of 18,” Vaz wrote in the memo acquired by the news outlet.

The memo did not include the specific ages of each of the minors, but it did note that they were all under 18. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. that has been approved for people 16 and older.

Vaz attributed the error to an issue within the waitlisting process that was used by a Dallas County. The county’s health department and County Judge Clay Jenkins had reportedly encouraged all residents to register for the vaccine waitlist even if they were currently ineligible with the guidance that they would be in line to receive the inoculation once they became eligible, NBC News reported.

Jenkins said that human error was the cause for so many minors receiving the vaccine before they were eligible.

“Dallas County encourages everyone to register on the COVID-19 vaccination waitlist; however, at this time, only individuals 16 years of age and older are authorized and eligible for vaccination,” Jenkins said in a statement to the outlet. “A third party oversees the Dallas County vaccine registration list. An automated sorting process initially identified minors as not yet eligible and placed them on a list with others not eligible. Once eligibility opened up to include all individuals over age 16, human error at the third party company maintaining the list caused minors to be moved into an eligible group without double-checking for age requirements.”

Jenkins said the county is working towards putting safeguards in place to ensure that the mistake does not happen again.

No vaccines have yet been approved for use on minors under the age of 16 in the United States. 

Top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci predicted last month that high school-aged kids may be able to receive vaccinations as early as this fall, while younger children would potentially have to wait until 2022.

Pfizer began testing for its vaccine on children under 12 last month.

“Pfizer has deep experience in advancing clinical trials of vaccines in children and infants and is committed to improving the health and well-being of children through thoughtfully designed clinical trials,” the company said at the time.

Tags Anthony Fauci BioNTech coronavirus vaccine COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine Pfizer Texas Vaccine

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