Call to colour-code Covid vaccine doses after kids given adult amount

A small number of children were administered doses that were above the approved amount.

Call to colour-code Covid vaccine doses after kids given adult amount iStock
Scottish Labour's health spokesperson raised the issue during the First Minister's Covid update at Holyrood.

Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to consider colour-coding Covid-19 vaccine doses to make clear which are for adults and which are for children.

It comes after a “small number” of children were given doses that were above the approved amount.

Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie made the suggestion to colour-code doses in order to avoid similar errors in future.

During the First Minister’s Covid statement at Holyrood on Tuesday, Baillie explained that young people had been unwell as a result of having received the wrong dosage, as she called for an urgent review of their administration.

“The Daily Record reported that four children aged between five and 11, and clinically vulnerable, were given Covid vaccine overdoses more than twice the approved amount in NHS Lanarkshire,” she told MSPs.

“They received adult doses, rather than those designed for children. At least one of the children was very seriously ill for a whole week as a result.

“I’ve also since been contacted by a mother whose 11-year-old daughter was given the wrong vaccine dosage, this time in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“Her daughter was desperately unwell for two weeks, but months later the symptoms returned and she ended up in hospital.

“Given the unfortunate side-effects experienced by these children, and to ensure confidence in the vaccination programme which is so important, will the First Minister order an urgent review of the administration of vaccinations to children?

“And at least ensure that the different doses for children and adults are colour-coded to avoid future error?”

The First Minister said that the government was given assurances that the error was identified quickly, with actions put in place so that parents were kept fully informed of the situation.

She responded: “Of course, in the face of any incident like this, we will take any steps that we consider to be appropriate.

“This was a small number of children who were incorrectly administered with a higher than recommended dose of the Pfizer vaccine instead of the paediatric formula.

“NHS Lanarkshire has apologised for this error and has undertaken the appropriate monitoring that should always be carried out when someone is given more than the recommended dose of a vaccine.

“We have already been assured that the error was quickly identified, reported and actions were put in place to ensure that affected parents were fully informed of what had happened.”

Sturgeon indicated to parents that the mistaken dosage amount is “not harmful”, but reiterated that steps had been taken as a result of the error.

“There is guidance from the UK Health Security Agency about the steps that should be taken,” she said.

“They should be reassured in this case that it is not harmful, but we nevertheless will ensure that there is proper review of this and any appropriate steps taken as a result.”

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