Twelve teenagers received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not yet approved for use in people under the age of 18, Vancouver Coastal Health acknowledged Tuesday (May 31).
According to the heath authority, the teenagers were given the Moderna vaccine instead of Pfizer at clinics on Thursday and Friday. A Vancouver Coastal Health spokesperson said the error occurred because this was the first weekend that Moderna was offered in the health authority’s clinics after an “extended period” during which only Pfizer was available.
“With both a new age cohort and a different vaccine on site, errors were made on May 28-29, in which immunizers used the Moderna vaccine instead of the Pfizer product for adolescents. Immunizers at the clinics recognized the error, disclosed it to the clients and their families, and apologized for the oversight,” the health authority said in a statement.
Moderna is currently authorized in Canada only for individuals ages 18 and up, although the manufacturer recently announced that clinical trials showed the vaccine was safe for teens ages 12-17.
Vancouver Coastal Health said a series of changes have been made to avoid another mixup: new questions have been added to the screening process, a new “visual cue” will be used by staff and separate stations have been set up for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.