Two boys, ages 6 and 7, mistakenly received adult doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic set up by the Garland Health Department at a church Halloween celebration, the city says.
"I'm very angry, I'll be honest,” said Julian Gonzalez, the father of the 6-year-old boy. “All I can do is for the moment be level-headed and hope he's OK."
Gonzalez and several other adult family members went to the event to get boosters for themselves.
Gonzalez's son was with them.
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"And we're waiting and one of the workers there who was working at the vaccine station said, 'By the way we have the vaccine already for the kids available now,’” Gonzalez said. “We said, 'Really?' They said, 'Yeah.'"
So they agreed.
"They even had a form prepared that had an option to choose the vaccine for the child. It just seemed like everything was prepared and ready for that,” Gonzalez said.
A 7-year-old neighbor got the shot too.
Gonzalez's wife got a call on Monday from a Garland city official, who said it was all a mistake.
But Gonzalez said the official was unapologetic and wouldn't answer their questions.
"All they kept saying was, 'The proper channels have been notified,'" Gonzalez said. “No matter what, no matter what answer we tried to get -- How did this happen? How could this happen? -- the only answer we got is, 'The proper channels have been notified.'"
Vaccines haven't received final government approval for children.
The adult dose, which they gave in Garland, is about three times stronger than what experts are considering for young children.
Gonzalez said his son’s arm hurts from the injection but has other symptoms too.
"He had a mild fever,” the father said. “And throughout the day he's had a headache, and he's just real low energy, just not his usual energetic self a 6-year-old would normally be."
Other children in rare cases have mistakenly received the vaccine.
"The most important thing is these kids will likely be OK,” Plano pediatrician Dr. Marcial Oquendo said.
The same form Gonzalez was given for children to sign up was still on Garland's website Monday evening.
City spokesman Saul Garza said the city would take it down immediately, apologized to the families involved and promised the city would be happy to answer any of their concerns.
The form was prepared in anticipation of children’s vaccines getting final approval soon, Garza said.
Gonzalez said he still has questions.
“I think there needs to be checks and balances. How did it get to this level?” Gonzalez asked. "We may come out OK from this but what if it happens somewhere else and someone is not as lucky?"