COVID-19

Premier takes aim at PM over COVID vaccine overdoses

It’s understood the doctor contracted by the Federal Government used the entire vial of the Pfizer vaccine. The doctor has been stood down.Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the news was concerning and she would be writing to the Prime Minister to ask for more details of the training the private contractors administering the vaccine on behalf of the federal government had received.“I’m advised the overdosing happened yesterday morning,” she said.“Queensland authorities were advised late last night. “In fact the Health Minister herself rang me late last night and we convened again this morning at 7am.“Discovering these details now is simply not good enough.”Ms Palaszczuk said she was advised it was only the intervention of a nurse that prevented further overdoses and that the doctor concerned had been stood down.“None of this is good enough and the federal government must explain itself,” she said.“Today I’ll write to the Prime Minister asking for him to convene a National Cabinet as soon as possible.“I want to know what training is being provided to the people the Federal Government is employing to administer the vaccines in our aged care facilities to give additional confidence.“I want to know the communications strategies for the next phases of the rollout of the vaccine.“People need and must have full confidence in these vaccines.”She said the Federal Government must also give regular updates on who they are vaccinating and how many, just as the states were doing.“It is only through this bipartisan support that we can achieve the full confidence of the Australian public and the Queensland public,” she said.Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the Commonwealth had already committed to share the findings of its investigation with Queensland authorities.She said 527 Queensland health workers had received the vaccine so far this week at the Gold Coast University Hospital hub and the Princess Alexandra vaccination hub would come online today.Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said there would be an investigation into the incident and whether there was a “serious breach in terms of following the protocol”. “Our advice is that both doses were administered consecutively and, as a consequence of that, the nurse – and we say thank you for her strength of character and alertness – stepped in immediately,” he said.“This is an individual practitioner that’s clearly made an error and around the county and you will remember from multiple press conferences, whether it’s the flu or other things, during the course of any one year there would be challenges, issues and errors. Ordinarily they wouldn’t be focused on.”“I’ve made the decision that we should address this front up to showcase the safeguards we’ve put in place.”We wanted to get on with the vaccination quickly, so we went with a single one size fits all module. It’s the same training. There may be a need for us to modify that going forward.In the meantime, that doctor is not going to be delivering further vaccines for the moment.”St Vincent’s Care Services Australia CEO Lincoln Hopper said the GP in question has been reported to an Australian regulatory body.“St Vincent’s Care Services can confirm that a GP, employed by Healthcare Australia, an agency contracted by the Commonwealth to carry out COVID-19 vaccinations administered an incorrect dose of the COVID vaccine to two of its residents on Tuesday,” Mr Hopper said.“The job of administering the vaccine was the role and responsibility of Healthcare Australia.” “The health of the two residents is being closely monitored and no adverse effects have been identified.” “St Vincent’s intends to report the GP to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency for the error.” Mr Hopper said before they allow further vaccinations to continue at any of their sites, any provider will need to confirm the training and expertise of the clinicians, so “ an incident like this doesn’t happen again. “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,” he said.“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.” “Yesterday was very distressing to us, to our residents and to their families.” Test Expander Courier MailInfectious disease physician and microbiologist Paul Griffin described the overdosing incident as “really disappointing” but said it was unlikely to cause serious complications for the elderly people involved.“There’s a wide safety margin in terms of the doses that are used and so the likely eventuality is that these people won’t have any ill effects,” Associate Professor Griffin said.“In terms of it being likely to be a problem, the short answer there is no.“In the animal studies before we even progress to clinical trials, we often test 50 or 100 times these sort of doses.“We don’t want this to undermine people’s confidence in the vaccine.”Prof Griffin said he expected the incident to be “very carefully reviewed” and processes implemented to reduce the possibility of an overdose happening again.“I think the actual risk here is exceedingly low but I think the perceived risk and the unfortunate scepticism that might be fuelled by this is potentially significant,” he said.“We need to make really sure that we get this right from now on so that everyone can be reassured that they’re getting the right dose.”NED-3237 Australia’s arms race beginsThe vaccination process is such a simple process for GPs that the chance of making a mistake is very slim but because it is basic doctoring 101 it is important that a clinic workflow is in place to eliminate distractions, the Queensland chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners told The Courier-Mail.“GPs will all have been properly trained in administering the COVID-19 vaccine but honestly all GPs know the processes, we have been giving vaccines for decades, there is no need for the public to worry when the AstraZeneca is rolled out in the in the next month,” Dr Bruce Willett said.Practice sessions of the protocol will be put into place in GP clinics just as they were in at The Gold Coast University Hospital.

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