Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has demanded an emergency national cabinet meeting after two aged-care home residents were given overdoses of the COVID jab.
Ms Palaszczuk said the “very concerning” bungle happened on Tuesday morning but was not reported to Queensland Health authorities until nearly 24 hours later.
“Today I will write to the Prime Minister asking him to convene national cabinet as soon as possible,” she said on Wednesday.
“I want to know what training is provided to the people the federal government is employing to administer the vaccines in our aged care facilities.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt earlier confirmed an 88-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman had been given a “higher than the prescribed amount” of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Both residents of the Holy Spirit Nursing Home in Carseldine in Brisbane, they received their wrong dose on Tuesday, before a nurse intervened and reported the error.
“I think it’s very important that we’re up front,” Mr Hunt said.
“The safeguards that were put in place immediately kicked into action and a nurse on the scene identified the fact that a higher than prescribed amount of the dose was given to two patients.
“Both patients are being monitored and both patients are showing no signs at all of an adverse reaction. But it is a reminder of the importance of the safeguards.”
Queensland began its rollout of the vaccine on Monday with 1000 people expected to receive the jab by the end of the week.
The doctor who administered the doses has been stood down from the vaccine program and The New Daily understands he will be reported to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Doctor to be reported for ‘distressing’ error
St Vincent’s Care Services CEO Lincoln Hopper said the organisation intends to report the doctor who administered the overdose to the medical regulator.
“Yesterday was very distressing to us, to our residents and to their families,” Mr Hopper said.
“This 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.
Mr Hopper said healthcare providers would need to confirm the “training and expertise” of the medical professionals administering the vaccine before the program would restart at any St Vincent’s Care Services home.
‘Not good enough’, says Premier
Ms Palaszczuk said the response was “not good enough” and urged the federal government to explain how such a mistake was possible.
“There are very concerning reports about an incident in an aged care facility in Brisbane,” she wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
“The federal government is responsible for the rollout of the vaccine in aged care and they’re using private contractors to deliver it.”
Incorrect doses occurred in overseas rollout
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly said there had also been several incidents of people being incorrectly given higher doses during the early vaccine rollout in Germany and Britain.
“In the early clinical trials of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, they did actually experiment with different doses of the product, including one three or four times higher than what have eventually been the prescribed doses. During those trials, the side effect data was not a higher problem,” he said.
“Second of all … we are aware of several cases like this happening early in the phased rollout through residential aged care facility equivalents in Germany and the UK. Again, the side effect profile was minimal, particularly in older people, so that gives us hope …
“However, when we were notified of this yesterday evening by the company concerned – that is doing the rollout in those facilities – we took immediate action.
“We’ve checked again on the patient welfare this morning and as the minister said, they’re both doing fine.”