The 8-year-old boy receives the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas after his father was allowed to make an appointment
An eight-year-old boy received a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas last month in what officials have called a “mistake” due to “human error.”
The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only approved for people 18 years of age and older and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people 16 years of age and older.
But a father said he enrolled his son in elementary school for an appointment at a drive-thru site in Dallas County run by first responders in Grand Prairie, where a paramedic injected the child, reported NBC DFW
He assumed that because he had received a QR code confirming the appointment, the child was eligible for vaccination.
The father only knew when he spoke to a pediatrician after the fact that children are not eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines.
Currently, several vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, are conducting clinical trials in children, some as young as six months old.
The father of an 8-year-old boy in Dallas County, Texas registered his son online to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and took him to a drive-thru site last month (file image)
Dallas County officials say they are investigating why the registry website was not safe to prevent underage children from being administered. In the photo: People at the Dallas County mass vaccination site at Fair Park in Dallas, January 2021
He was under the impression that, “I give up his information and he got an appointment,” said pediatrician Dr. Marcial Oquendo v NBC DFW.
And when he got an appointment, he said, ‘We all have an appointment, so let’s go.’
Oquendo said the boy’s father did not realize that children are not eligible for vaccines until the two had a conversation after the appointment.
Chief Robert Fite of the Grand Prairie Fire Department told NBC DFW that on the day the boy received the vaccine, approximately 3,800 people passed the vaccination site.
He said he is currently gathering information on how this ‘mistake’ happened and is working to find the paramedic who administered the vaccine.
“They’re in the car, there’s a code, the paramedic did what that paramedic did for thousands of others that day and gave the vaccination, but didn’t realize it was a child under 18,” Fite said.
COVID-19 VACCINE CLINICAL TRIALS CURRENTLY INVOLVING CHILDREN
- Clinical trial in children ages 12-15, with results Wednesday showing it was safe and 100% effective in preventing infection
- Clinical trial with children aged 6 months to 11 years, which started last week and results are not expected until the end of 2021
- Late-stage clinical trial in children 12 to 17 years of age, with results expected in the summer
- Clinical trial in children 6 to 12 years old, dosing the first participants over the past months
- Clinical trial in the UK with children between 6 and 17 years old that started last month
Officials say there was no system of failure when the boy’s father enrolled him through Dallas County.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that when the boy’s father initially registered him, the child was put on a waiting list.
But when Texas lowered the eligibility age from 50 and over to 16 and over, the website moved everyone on the waiting list to the eligible list.
“There was human error, and … they failed to exfoliate people under 18,” Jenkins told NBC DFW.
Jenkins said the county is working with the IT department to prevent children from being registered in the future and talks to medics in case they see someone who looks too young to be vaccinated.
Several vaccine manufacturers are currently conducting clinical trials to test their coronavirus shots in children.
On Wednesday, Pfizer announced the results of its COVID-19 vaccine study that showed it was safe and 100 percent effective in preventing teens between the ages of 12 and 15 from contracting the disease.
Last week, the company and its partner, BioNTech, launched a global COVID-19 trial testing children from six months to eleven years old.
Moderna is conducting a study of the vaccine in children 6 months to less than 12 years old and another 12 years to 17 years old.
Results of the trial with older children are expected in late spring or early summer.
Last month, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford began researching their vaccine among 6 to 17-year-olds in the UK.
It was only after talking to pediatrician Dr. Marcial Oquendo (pictured) that the father understood he had made a mistake
Children are often the last group to be tested in clinical trials because they are not just small adults.
Their bodies and immune systems behave differently, which means they can have different treatment needs.
In addition, children may require different doses or needle sizes depending on their height, weight and age – so most children are not vaccinated until after safety has been well documented in the adult population.
“We don’t have the data, especially under the age of 12, to tell if it works, if it’s safe, how much to use, which child it can have and which children it cannot,” Oquendo told NBC DFW.
“It has to be in a controlled setting of a clinical trial where we follow every possible angle to be able to say whether it is safe and effective to use in children in this age group.”