Health Minister Greg Hunt says two aged care residents are showing no adverse effects after they were each given a higher than the recommended dose of the Pfizer/BioTech coronavirus vaccine in Queensland.
Two patients – an 88-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman – were administered the incorrect dose of the vaccine at a Holy Spirit Nursing Home in Brisbane’s Carseldine on Tuesday.
Mr Hunt moved to soothe concerns over the incident on Wednesday, saying it demonstrated the importance of the safeguards which “immediately kicked into action”.
He said a nurse had intervened after identifying the issue, and the doctor who administered the doses had been stood down from the vaccination program.
“Both patients are showing no signs at all of an adverse reaction,” Mr Hunt told reporters.
He said the individual practitioner had “clearly made an error”, with both doses administered consecutively.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said some patients were given higher doses during clinical trials of the vaccine, and “the side effect data was not a high problem”.
He said they were also aware of similar incidents in aged care facilities overseas, with minimal side effects.
“That gives us hope. However, when we were notified of this yesterday evening … we took immediate action,” Professor Kelly said.
St Vincent’s Care Services, which runs the nursing home, said residents and their families were distressed about the incident involving a doctor employed by Healthcare Australia.
“It’s caused us to question whether some of the clinicians given the job of administering the vaccine have received the appropriate training,” the group said in a statement.
“Before vaccinations are allowed to continue at any of our sites, Healthcare Australia – or any other provider – will need to confirm the training and expertise of the clinicians they’ve engaged, so an incident like this doesn’t happen again.”
St Vincent’s intends to report the GP to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Mr Hunt said the deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd would review the incident and make recommendations.
“Every participant can only participate in providing vaccinations so long as they have had the training, so we will examine what were the circumstances, that will be ongoing, and we’ll provide public guidance,” he said.
With reporting by AAP.
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