LARGO, MD – The Prince George’s County Health Department has notified the families of 70 children ages 5 through 11 who, due to a vaccine storage error, received expired first or second doses of Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine at the County’s Sports and Learning Complex on Friday, November 26. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), Pfizer, and the County Health Department recommend the children receive a replacement dose to ensure they have the most protection possible against COVID-19.
There is no health risk to children who received the expired vaccine, but those doses are likely to be less effective at protecting against COVID-19 according to the CDC, MDH, and Pfizer, who have been consulted extensively on how the Department should proceed.
“We deeply regret the error and we apologize for the concern and inconvenience this has caused families,” said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Health, Human Services, and Education Dr. George L. Askew. “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 re-vaccinated.”
The Department will be offering special private clinics only for affected families at its Cheverly Health Center (3003 Hospital Drive Cheverly, MD 20785) on Sunday, December 5, and Saturday, December 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Walk-ins and appointments are accepted.
If the families want to get re-vaccinated sooner, they are also invited to attend any of the regular clinics offered at select County elementary and high schools as well as at the Sports and Learning Complex. For additional public and private COVID-19 vaccine clinic schedules, including a clinic locator mapping tool and a mobile clinic calendar, visit mypgc.us/COVIDvaccine. If families have transportation difficulties and need assistance getting to a clinic, they can contact the County’s Department of Public Works & Transportation hotline at 301-499-8603.
“The vaccination vendor at the Sports and Learning Complex has been retrained on vaccine storage and administration protocols, and the County has been assured from the vendor administering vaccine that it has taken corrective action that will prevent this from happening again,” said Prince George’s County Health Officer Dr. Ernest Carter. “Our collective goal remains to protect each other during the holiday season and from emerging variants. I urge residents to get vaccinated or boosted while continuing to mask up, maintain good hygiene, and get tested, especially if you begin to feel symptoms or if you have been exposed to COVID-19.”
On November 19, the County Health Department received a transfer of 300 pediatric Pfizer doses from a provider that was unable to administer the doses before they expired on November 24.
The vaccination vendor at the Sports and Learning Complex clinic, HealthCare Dynamics International, administered all but 70 of the transferred vaccine doses before the expiration date. However, the remaining 70 doses were not discarded, which is the proper protocol, and were mistakenly stored in the refrigerator with the viable vaccine. On November 26, the remaining doses (at that point expired) were mistakenly placed on a tray with viable doses and were administered at the clinic that day.
The Department has reported the error to MDH and to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).