LAUREL, Md. — A Prince George's County woman received two different COVID vaccines after a mixup at the clinic. For weeks she had been worrying about how it would affect her health.
Belinda Young said she received her first dose of Moderna at the Doctors Community Hospital on March 5. She was scheduled to get her second Moderna dose at the Anne Arundel Medical Center on March 31, but instead, she said she was given the Pfizer shot.
“I'm sitting there all happy. And I’m looking at the card, and I say wait a minute, why does it say Pfizer?” Young said.
Pulmonary physician at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, said since both of those vaccines use the mRNA protein, he would consider her fully vaccinated. And since she hasn't had more side-effects two weeks out, she should be fine.
“If this was my patient, I would tell her like, you know, it's the same technology, I think you should be fine," Dr. Galiatsatos said. "I think it's still going to get us the outcome that we want in regards to kind of the immunity and establishment of that.”
Young is still working through how she even received two different vaccines.
She said she showed up at Anne Arundel Medical Center on March 31, but she said she forgot her vaccination card in the car. She said she told the nurse that at check-in.
Young said, instead, the nurse looked her up in the computer system, and she said it seemed like all was squared away, so she got the shot.
Young said afterward, she was sitting in the waiting area, looked at the new vaccination card, and saw that Pfizer was listed.
She said she alerted the nurses, who worked to figure out what happened.
A spokesperson for Anne Arundel Medical Center sent WUSA 9 the following statement:
The health and safety of our community members is our top priority. To-date, Luminis Health has administered more than 80,000 COVID vaccines to our community to help end this pandemic.
Our standard procedure when administering second doses is to verify the manufacturer of the individual’s first dose. We do this one of two ways: via the person’s vaccination record card or the State’s system. In rare instances, we are unable to verify this information using either method. If a community member comes in to one of our vaccination clinics without presenting a vaccination record card, and we are unable to verify their first vaccine in the State’s system, we will now reschedule their appointment until we can confirm the manufacturer of their first dose.
While it is recommended to complete the vaccine series with the same product, according to the CDC, there are no known adverse effects of receiving two different vaccines. The CDC guidelines also state that if the first dose cannot be determined, any available mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may be administered to complete the mRNA COVID-19 vaccination series.
“Every single doctor that she listened to is saying you have to stay with what you already have. So, am I a misfit? I don't get it," Young said.
According to the CDC, every effort should be made to administer two doses of the same vaccine, but guidance online says, "If two doses of different mRNA COVID-19 vaccine products are administered in these situations (or inadvertently), no additional doses of either product are recommended at this time."
If she's okay receiving two different vaccines, Young wanted to know why doctors don't recommend that people receive both brands.
Dr. Galiatsatos said it's because there's no data to support that recommendation right now. Mixing different doses has yet to be tested.
Young has her own recommendation for those getting vaccinated: “Pay attention to everything that's written and every step of the way, while you're going through those lines.”
She stresses that even with her experience, she still wants everyone to get the shot.
“I don't want anyone to not get it, because I'm one of those high risk people," Young said. "So I would like to see everyone get vaccinated.”
Recently, Pfizer's CEO said people will likely need a booster in about a year, so Young wondered if she should do that since she only received one Pfizer dose.
Dr. Galiatsatos said his advice is to air on the side of caution and take it.