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Utah family responds after child receives wrong COVID-19 vaccine dose

Posted at 10:30 PM, Nov 13, 2021

SALT LAKE COUNTY — The family of a 5-year-old injected with an adult dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is speaking out about their experience with the hopes of helping others.

The Salt Lake County Health Department confirmed the mistake to FOX 13 on Friday.

Now, the family of that 5-year-old is speaking out and sharing their story.

“Initially, I was kind of freaking out about what was going on with potential concerns. What does that mean?” his father told FOX 13. "Obviously, it's happened — nothing can change that it did happen, but what did it mean?”

Seeing his son receive the wrong dose of the vaccine was scary.

The mix-up happened because the dose of the adult vaccine was supposed to be the dad's.

“She does the change on the computer and then she gives him my shot, and then right after she did, she was like, 'Ah, oops,'” he said, “'I just gave him your shot.'”

The experience became very time-consuming, and the father says a lot of problems started happening.

They had both come from a different school to East Midvale Elementary School to get their vaccine together.

The father said he wanted to show his son that getting a shot wasn’t a big deal by getting it at the same time.

After several delays and waiting in line since 3 p.m., they were finally seen around 5 p.m. But from mix-ups with the vaccine cards to computer delays, the process was taking a long time with his son becoming nervous.

“I think the confusion between that initial account set up of me getting in the system and registered was what threw everybody off,” he said, adding that while he was initially supposed to go first since his processing was taking longer, they opted to go with his son first, and that’s when the wrong dose was given.

The Salt Lake County Health Department issued the following statement in response to the incident:

“While we do not expect any adverse effects to the patient because of this (and will be following up with the patient and their health care provider to be sure), we take any mistake seriously and are investigating the circumstances in this situation. We are also reviewing our safety protocols with our vaccinators to ensure this does not happen again.”

Thankfully, the boy's side effects have been pretty mild so far. His dad says he’s been tired and had a sore arm.

"He’s moved past the side effects phase, I think," the dad said. "His arm is little bit sore... At this point, he is in the clear and there’s nothing to be scared of from the vaccine side."

He advises other parents to ask questions and make sure the same thing doesn't happen to them and their kids in the future.

"Just maybe make sure your kid is getting what he is supposed to," he said. "It should say right on it if it's a kid's dose or an adult dose, so you can look at it before it's given to your kid.”

For parents taking their children to get a vaccination, the vaccine authorized for kids has a bright orange cap on it, as opposed to the purple cap for adult vaccinations.

He hopes this event doesn’t deter people from getting the vaccine for themselves or their child, because he and his family have been personally affected by the virus.

“Somebody that’s our grandparent that's in the hospital right now that had COVID,” he said. "That’s why I think everyone has to go out and get the vaccine and let's just move past this.”

The county health department has many more scheduled vaccination clinics for elementary schools in the county, which start again on Monday.