Italian woman accidentally receives six doses of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine

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  • A young woman received an entire vial of Pfizer's Covid vaccine, which contains six doses
  • She was immediately sent to the hospital's emergency room and placed under observation for 24 hours
  • She is reported to have experienced no adverse side effects, and was later released from the hospital

An Italian woman accidentally received six doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine at once, CBS News reported.

The 23-year-old woman attended the Noa Hospital in Tuscany, Italy, on 9 May to receive her first dose of the vaccine (the Pfizer jab is given in two doses, three weeks apart). However, the nurse administering the vaccine mistakenly injected her with the complete vial of the vaccine.

Each vial of the vaccine contains six doses, which must then be individually extracted and placed in separate vials to be diluted, Dr Tommaso Bellandi, director of patient security for the northwest Tuscany health authority, told CBS News. Unfortunately, the nurse didn’t realise the vial was undiluted and proceeded to administer it to the woman.

"She thought that the dilution had taken place. They are both transparent liquids of the same density. Unfortunately, this contributed to the error," said Bellandi.

Thankfully, the nurse realised what had happened and the woman was immediately placed under observation in the hospital’s emergency room for the next 24 hours. 

The hospital has launched an investigation into the error and will review its safety procedures.

No adverse events 

According to CBS News, the woman received fluids, anti-inflammatories, and fever medications as a preventive measure, but did not experience any pain except for pain at the injection site (her arm). She was released from the hospital on Monday.

The woman’s blood will be tested regularly so that doctors can monitor her immune response, as they’re not yet certain whether she would still need to get the scheduled second dose.

Not the first case

In December 2020, eight German workers in an elderly care home were mistakenly given five doses of the Pfizer vaccine, Reuters reported. Some of them developed flu-like symptoms and were sent to a hospital to be monitored. Three of the care home workers returned home, while one remained in hospital, according to a separate Reuters article

Earlier this year, a 91-year-old man in Ohio went into shock after he accidentally received two doses of the vaccine four hours apart, local news outlet, WLWT reported.

The man had already received his first dose of the vaccine in January but experienced fatigue and fell, which landed him in hospital. He was later transferred to Jamestown Rehab Facility. He was scheduled to receive his second dose in February, while he was still at the facility, which he received. 

However, due to a mix-up between patients with similar names at the facility, he received yet another dose. This means that he received three jabs altogether. WLWT reported that his condition eventually improved and he was recovering well.

*For more Covid-19 research, science and news, click here. You can also sign up for our Daily Dose newsletter here.

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