'Extremely concerning': Two patients given Covid vaccine overdoses

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·3-min read

Two elderly aged care residents have been given an excessive amount of the Covid-19 vaccine, believed to be four times the required amount, after a bungle in Queensland.

Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed to reporters on Wednesday a doctor gave an incorrect dose to an 88-year-old man and 94-year-old woman at the Holy Spirit Nursing Home Carseldine in Brisbane on Tuesday.

He said a nurse on the scene identified the incident of "adverse administration", believed to be four times the correct amount of the coronavirus vaccine.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, February 16, 2021. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed two patients had received an excessive dose of the Covid vaccine. Source: AAP

Mr Hunt said both patients were being monitored and were showing no signs of an adverse reaction.

Yahoo News Australia understands Healthcare Australia was contracted by the government to administer the vaccinations and was not the responsibility of St Vincent's Care Services.

Nurse praised for stepping in after mistake

It is believed the Healthcare Australia team arrived at the aged care facility on Tuesday when the GP administered the vaccinations to the two residents before a nurse advised him it was the wrong dose.

Mr Hunt praised the nurse for her strength of character and professionalism in stepping in, and the GP involved has since resigned from the vaccination program.

The Holy Spirit aged care facility where the vaccinations were adminIstered. Source: Google Maps
The Holy Spirit aged care facility where the vaccinations were adminIstered. Source: Google Maps

It is understood the GP left the aged care facility immediately after the bungle, and St Vincent's Care Services had to inform the patients of the incident.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told reporters on Wednesday the health department was aware of several similar cases of excessive doses happening early in the vaccine rollout overseas.

"The side effect profile was minimal, particularly in older people, so that gives us hope," he said.

Aged care facility 'distressed' by bungle

St Vincent's Care Services chief executive Lincoln Hopper told Yahoo News Australia in a statement they would report the GP to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency for the error.

"Yesterday was very distressing to us, to our residents and to their families," he said.

"The 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.

"Before vaccinations are allowed to continue at any of our sites, Healthcare Australia – or any other provider – will need to confirm the training and expertise of the clinicians they've engaged so an incident like this doesn't happen again."

Investigation into what led to vaccination bungle

Mr Hunt said the government had highly developed training modules that were a requirement for anybody participating in the vaccination program.

"In relation to the individual doctor, we'll leave that to the investigation as to whether or not they did not understand or did not complete, but it was a serious breach in terms of following protocol," he said.

"Our advice is that both doses were administered consecutively and, as a consequence of that, the nurse stepped in immediately.

"This is a case where I think it's very important for us to be open about these things. This is an individual practitioner who has clearly made an error."

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