70 Prince George’s Children Received Expired Vaccine Doses

LARGO, Md. (AP) — Seventy children who were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Prince George’s County received expired doses due to a storage error, health officials say.

The county health department said in a news release Thursday that the children, ages 5-11, don't face health risks from these doses, and private clinics will help revaccinate the children affected.

The first or second doses of Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine that the children received in Landover on Nov. 26 had expired two days earlier and were accidentally stored in a refrigerator with useable vaccines, according to the release.

The department says expired doses are less likely to be effective in protecting the against the virus.

County health officials coordinated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health and Pfizer to develop a plan to address the mistake.

“It is nice when everyone is in agreement — and everyone was in agreement that receiving the expired vaccine was not going to be detrimental to the children’s health,” Dr. George L. Askew, deputy chief administrative officer for health, human services and education, told The Washington Post.

“But everyone was also in agreement that it did not give all the protection and that children should get revaccinated.”

Askew said he’s hopeful that a mistake such as this won't make parents more concerned about vaccinating their children. The majority-Black county that borders Washington was hit hard by last spring’s COVID-19 surge, but now has one of the lowest transmission rates in Maryland.

Health department spokesperson George Lettis told The Post that 13% of children ages 5-9 and about 58% of people aged 10-19 have been vaccinated in the county.