A 23-year-old Italian woman was mistakenly given six doses of the Pfizer vaccine in one go, but luckily, she suffered no ill effects.
The woman, a student, was discharged from hospital in a good condition after receiving fluids and paracetamol following the injection on Sunday, news agency AGI reported on Monday night.
Instead of injecting just one dose into the arm of the student, a nurse at the Noa hospital in Tuscany mistakenly injected the entire vial, the equivalent of six doses.
The nurse immediately realised her mistake and alerted both the patient and an attending doctor, who then admitted the woman in hospital for 24 hours under observation as a precaution.
Dr. Antonella Vicenti, director of infectious diseases at Noa Hospital, told CBS that the woman had not suffered any side effects from the large dosage.
‘The patient did not have fever and did not have any pain except for pain at the inoculation site, nor any other manifestations,’ Vincenti said.
‘She was a bit frightened, thus we preferred to keep her here until this morning.’
Hospital spokeswoman Daniella Gianelli told CNN that doctors will continue to monitor the patient’s immune response to determine any possibility of the woman receiving a second shot of the vaccine.
Gianelli said the young woman was eligible to receive a vaccine ahead of others in her age group because she was an intern at the hospital’s psychology department.
The incident has been reported to Italy’s medicine regulator and the hospital has launched an investigation to review safety measures.
Dr Tommaso Bellandi, director of patient security for the northwest Tuscany health authority told CBS that the incident was down to human error.
‘This is something that should never happen. Unfortunately, due to our limits as human beings, as well as organisational limits, these things can happen.’
He explained that vials of Pfizer vaccine contain six doses.
The nurse injected all of the liquid from an undiluted vial and realised her mistake after seeing five empty syringes next to it.
‘She thought that the dilution had taken place,’ said Bellandi. ‘They are both transparent liquids of the same density. Unfortunately, this contributed to the error,’ Bellandi said.