Thirty-one people under 18 years old mistakenly received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, a vendor hired by the city of Dallas to provide vaccines to adults says.
The vaccinations happened last week at the Potter’s House vaccination site, operated for the city by vendor AMR.
AMR spokesman Will Hendon reported the number in an email Tuesday. He said the company will now triple-check the age of people receiving the vaccines, which have not been approved for children.
“Once we realized the error, we put in place a process to ensure each person’s date of birth was checked at two stations prior to getting to the vaccination table and once again by the vaccinator to ensure that no one under the age of 18 is vaccinated,” Hendon said.
Improper invitations for shots came from the Dallas County online registration system for the Potter’s House and for the Verizon Theater location operated jointly by the cities of Irving and Grand Prairie.
Parents confirmed at least two children were vaccinated at the Verizon Theater location.
The father of an 8-year-old who was vaccinated Wednesday said he showed the invitation and age ID to officials to be sure it was correct.
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The man declined to have his name published.
The cities of Irving and Grand Prairie issued a joint statement about the issue Tuesday and blamed Dallas County’s registration for the problems.
“The cities of Grand Prairie and Irving rely on Dallas County to ensure that individuals who receive an appointment and authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine are, in fact, eligible to receive the vaccine. The cities are hopeful that Dallas County will take swift action to make necessary changes to its registration portal to safeguard against similar incidents in the future. The cities of Grand Prairie and Irving take this matter very seriously and refer all future inquiries to Dallas County as the manager of the vaccine registration system."
Dallas County commissioners discussed the issue with Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang Tuesday before the report of 31 errors was released. At that time, city of Dallas figures pegged the number of Potter’s House mistakes at 18, an increase from initial error reports last week.
“It was two and then it was 10 and then it was 18. It doesn’t seem to be stopping,” Commissioner John Wiley Price said. “Tell me we’re making sure we’re doing what we need to do to make sure we’re not having those kinds of issues.”
Huang said a combination of errors is to blame with the county invitations and the people who provide the shots.
When eligibility was first expanded to all adults, Huang said a pool of invitations was not properly reviewed to be sure that it was only adults and not all individuals that had registered.
“We stopped that. We’re trying to build other safeguards in the software. And then also the education of the providers on the front line. And all three of those really are, you know, important to try to prevent that,” Huang said.
Overall, officials said Dallas County COVID-19 vaccination is going very well. The county’s Fair Park site now provides more than 10,000 doses a day.
The county is launching a marketing campaign to urge everyone to register.
“It is almost instantaneous. If you get on the wait list, we can send out invitations this week,” Huang said.
He said changes are in place to see that only adults receive those invitations until vaccines are approved for children.
“I’m still concerned about getting that many minors,” Price said.
City of Dallas spokesperson Catherine Cuellar issued a statement Tuesday evening that said that AMR did not previously verify dates of birth at the Potter's House site.
"The city of Dallas will continue to monitor our vendor’s performance when the site reopens as scheduled Wednesday through Saturday. To date, the city of Dallas has successfully administered 50,000 vaccine doses. We will continue to work to end the COVID-19 pandemic by vaccinating as many eligible people as possible, as quickly as possible."
The Dallas County COVID-19 threat level has improved from Red to Orange with a decline in hospitalizations. But Huang said masks and social distancing are still necessary with the virus still present in the community.