A GP who gave two elderly care home patients four times the recommended dose of the Covid-19 vaccine had not been trained in how to administer the jab and has been stood down from the vaccination programme.
A 94-year-old woman and an 88-year-old man were given too much of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday, the second day of Australia’s vaccination rollout.
The pair, who are residents at the Holy Spirit Nursing Home Carseldine in Brisbane, suffered no adverse effects but they are being monitored in hospital.
The two elderly people given an incorrect dose of the Pfizer vaccine re residents at the Holy Spirit Nursing Home Carseldine in Brisbane (pictured)
Health Minister Greg Hunt told Parliament the doctor had not completed online training provided by the Australian Board of Nursing.
The doctor was employed by Healthcare Australia, the company contracted by the federal government to give vaccines in aged care homes.
‘I have asked the Department to take action against the company and the doctor for what is a clear breach on both fronts,’ he said.
‘This is being investigated by Healthcare Australia and we’re expecting a report later today.’
Minister Hunt also said he has apologised to the family of the elderly patients.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government was only informed about the overdose late on Tuesday night.
‘Although this happened yesterday morning, Queensland authorities were only advised late last night,’ she said.
‘Discovering these details now is simply not good enough.’
Minister for Health Greg Hunt addressed the nation’s vaccine rollout and bungle on Wednesday morning (pictured)
The premier said she would write to the prime minister to demand a National Cabinet meeting as soon as possible.
‘I want to know what training is provided to the people the Federal Government is employing to administer the vaccines in our aged care facilities,’ she said.
Earlier Minister Hunt said: ‘There has been one case, following all the safeguards we put in place, of what has been defined as an adverse administration.
‘Basically, a doctor gave an incorrect dose to two patients yesterday. I think it’s very important that we’re up-front.
‘The safeguards that were put in place immediately kicked into action.’
Mr Hunt said a nurse on the scene identified that a higher than the prescribed amount of the dose was given to the two patients.
Two elderly people have been given an ‘excessive amount’ of the Covid vaccine in a jab bungle in Queensland. Pictured: Medical workers prepare the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at the Hyatt quarantine hotel in Perth on Monday
An 94-year-old woman and an 88-year-old man were given more than the prescribed amount of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday – the second day of Australia’s Covid vaccination rollout. Pictured: Health signage is seen at Gold Coast University Hospital on February 22
He thanked the nurse for her ‘strength of character and her professionalism’.
The health minister said they would review the event and circumstances surrounding the error.
‘But the most important thing is that we engage in the transparency,’ he said.
Mr Hunt said authorities are still investigating how much of the vaccine was administered, after it was reported the two residents were given four times the recommended dose.
‘It hasn’t been confirmed, because it’s actually really hard to be able to tell what was in the needle, but it couldn’t have been more than [four times],’ he said.
‘In relation to the individual doctor, we’ll leave that to the investigation as to whether or not they either did not understand or did not complete it, but it was a serious breach in terms of following the protocol.’
AUSTRALIA’S VACCINE ROLLOUT: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Australia’s coronavirus vaccination rollout began on February 22.
The vaccines will become available in phases, with priority groups who are at a higher risk of Covid-19 first in line for the jab.
This includes: Quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers and aged and disability care residents and staff.
Around 60,000 Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine doses will be administered to the priority population.
The rollout begins with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and will include the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine from March 2021.
The Australian Government has secured more than 150 million Covid-19 vaccine doses.
Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines require two separate doses for a person to be fully immunised – Pfizer/BioNTech 21 days apart, and AstraZeneca 12 weeks apart.
Two elderly people in Brisbane were given four times the recommended dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday. The Pfizer vial contains enough for around about six doses.
Mr Hunt said the latest advice – which he was given five minutes before a press conference on Wednesday morning – was that the pair had not experienced an adverse reaction.
‘It is in line with the fact that significantly higher doses were used as parts of clinical trials around the world,’ he said.
‘The rollout continues. There will be cases. There will be challenges.
‘This has happened in other jurisdictions overseas.’
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly also noted that other countries, including Germany and the UK, have experienced similar bungles in their coronavirus vaccine rollout at aged care facilities.
‘The side effect profile was minimal particularly in the older people. That gives us hope,’ he said.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly is seen at a press conference on Wednesday, where the government addressed a coronavirus vaccine bungle in Queensland
Medical workers prepare the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at the Hyatt quarantine hotel in Perth on Monday
The Pfizer vial contains enough for around about six doses.
Lincoln Hopper, the CEO or St Vincent’s (Holy Spirit) Care Services, said the doctor who wrongly administered the vaccine would be reported to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
‘Yesterday was very distressing to us, to our residents and to their families,’ he said.
‘This incident is extremely concerning. It’s caused us to question whether some of the clinicians given the job of administering the vaccine have received the appropriate training.
‘Certainly, health authorities and contracted vaccination providers should be re-emphasising to their teams the need to exercise greater care so an error like this doesn’t happen again.’
An ambulance is seen at the entry to the Holy Spirit Nursing Home in Brisbane on Wednesday after news broke that two residents were given an incorrect dose of the Covid vaccine
What will next happen in each state
The Pfizer jab will be administered to 35,000 frontline workers in NSW over the next three weeks including those employed at quarantine hotels, people screening airport arrivals, health staff, cleaners, police and security.
All quarantine hotel workers in NSW – about 6500 people per week – will be included in the initial rollout of the jab.
Victoria’s first 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived on Sunday at Monash Hospital in Clayton.
The roll-out begins on Monday morning, with high-risk frontline health staff first in the queue.
Other recipients in line to receive the jab include hotel quarantine, airport and port workers, as well as aged care staff and residents.
The federal government is expected to allocate 59,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to Victoria over the first four weeks of the program.
The southern state will receive weekly deliveries of vaccines, with plans to inoculate 12,000 people in the first three weeks.
More than 1000 hotel and health workers will be jabbed this week
More than 290 hotel quarantine staff and medical professionals are expected to receive the Pfizer BioNTech jab.
3392 invitations sent to workers who qualify for Phase 1a
WA’s 2500 hotel quarantine workers, 2500 Perth Airport staff and 170 Fremantle Port employees have been prioritised to get the jab first, with at least 556 currently booked in to get it next week.