CHEVERLY, Md. — Parents are speaking out after their children received expired vaccine doses in Prince George’s County. 70 children need to receive another vaccine to be protected.
The children, ages 5 to 11, attended a private re-vaccination clinic at the Cheverly Health Center.
"I was really upset, we all were," said parent Beth Mackenzie. "We would’ve rather this happened to adults because it was really hard to say, 'Hey kids, we’re going through this pandemic, you're going to be homeschooled for a year, you have to go through all this and now you have to get a third shot.'"
The children received expired vaccine shots at the Prince George's County Sports and Learning Complex on Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving.
The county health department notified families this week the shots were expired, telling them they could attend the private clinic, including 7-year-old Sonja Mackenzie.
"I'm a little sad that I have to wait to be fully vaccinated until later," Sonja said.
"We were talking about playdates and seeing friends and had to put that off, too," Mackenzie said.
The county said 70 children received doses of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine that were expired by two days. While the doses weren't physically harmful, they are less effective in fighting the virus.
"Initially, I was pretty frustrated, to be honest, because I'm a healthcare provider and I was like, how did this even happen to begin with?" said parent Ana Davis. "There's so many checks and balances we have in place."
The county health department said that each vial has the expiration date marked on it, so this was a human error. The county says they’ve requested retraining by the vaccination vendor.
The expired doses came as a result of a storage error, the health department said.
“We deeply regret the error and we apologize for the concern and inconvenience this has caused families,” wrote Dr. George L. Askew, deputy chief administrative officer for Health, Human Services, and Education. “As a pediatrician, I want to assure parents that receiving an expired COVID-19 vaccine dose or receiving a replacement dose does not endanger your child’s health. An expired dose may not provide the maximum protection that these vaccines give and that’s why the county quickly made arrangements for each of these children to get revaccinated.”
"It's unfortunate, I don’t mistrust the vaccine, I think they're probably going to be a little extra vaccinated at the end of this," said Mackenzie. "It's just really frustrating and I wish it had happened to grownups."