HOUSTON – One Houston area mother and her 17-year-old son have been dealing with the headache of having to figure out what to do after her son mistakenly received the Moderna vaccine through HCA due to a clerical error.
The family said this should not have happened at all.
More than 12.5 million people across the state have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.
Moderna’s vaccine, though, has not yet been authorized for anyone under the age of 18. Moderna is currently seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA for that age group.
Fadwa Mohyeldin says it all started on March 19.
“We heard there were extra vaccines,” Mohyeldin said.
So, she said her 17-year-old son went to a clinic led by HCA Houston Healthcare North Cypress where he received his first dose of the COVID vaccine.
“We gave my age and identification to HCA’s hospital, and they still checked it out,” her son said.
“So, he got the vaccine,” Mohyeldin said.
The issue was, in March and currently, CDC guidelines have not authorized the use of the Moderna vaccine for people 12-17 years old, however, the family said the 17-year-old received the vaccine without anyone stopping them.
When the 17-year-old went to get a second dose in April, Mohyeldin said HCA said there were none available.
Her son ended up going to Memorial Hermann in Sugar Land, where he was denied. The staff told them, the 17-year-old was not eligible.
“[The staff at Memorial Hermann] told us, ‘By the CDC guidelines, you should not have the Moderna vaccine.’ I started panicking,” Mohyeldin said.
The mother then said she called HCA for help.
“I called the next day. I left messages,” Mohyeldin said.
She said her pleas for help seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. She went on to call her son’s doctor and even a local state representative, desperate for guidance.
The 17-year-old’s doctor told the mother that her son would likely have a very hard time getting a second Moderna vaccine shot since it is not authorized by the CDC.
“[My son’s doctor] told me that the hospital, they are liable and there is nothing I can do,” Mohyeldin said. “I tried again with the hospital. My son also sent an email. I thought to myself last night, ‘This is not going anywhere, let me call the news.’”
HCA sent the following statement regarding the incident:
“HCA Houston Healthcare North Cypress is committed to caring for our community. To the best of our abilities, we follow all CDC guidelines for vaccinations. However, through a clerical error, we inadvertently administered a dose to someone that had not yet turned 18. Although we are not currently vaccinating community members, we are working with the family to provide a second Moderna dose to the patient to ensure maximum vaccine effectiveness.”
Mohyeldin said this situation was not handled well.
“I’m worried and anxious, and [my son is] worried and anxious and that’s not fair,” Mohyeldin said. “They did not have respect for us as humans.”
KPRC 2 reached out to Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Robert Atmar for guidance for a situation like this. Atmar said the 17-year-old should be fine.
“No, I don’t think there’s any concern. Moderna just made public the data they have after vaccinating persons 12-17-years of age, and the vaccine was both safe and immunogenic none of the children in that study that were fully vaccinated developed Covid 19,” Atmar said. “They expected to seek EUA for that age group in the coming weeks. The Moderna vaccine may very well be approved for this age group of children in the coming month or so.”
Atmar also said that in this kind of case, delaying the second dose beyond the recommended timeframe, even beyond two months or three months until the 17-year-old’s birthday, would very likely not decrease the effectiveness of the vaccine. He said it might even help the effectiveness.
“It’s not going to be ineffective. There have been studies with the Pfizer vaccines and other studies with the pandemic influenza vaccines that have shown that the longer the interval between the first and the second dose, the better the immune response,” Atmar said. “The reason we don’t wait so long between doses is that it will delay a person from being fully immunized. With the Pfizer vaccine, they had the interval at three weeks. With the Moderna vaccine, they had it at four weeks. There is no concern that going beyond those intervals will decrease the effectiveness of the vaccine. If anything it may increase the effectiveness.” Atmar said.
He also added that it is always ideal to follow CDC guidelines whenever possible.
Mohyeldin said though that these last few months have been a headache for their entire family.
“When you go, you need to ask because we went there and trusted that the people giving the vaccine would know what they are doing,” Mohyeldin said.
Mohyeldin maintains that this situation should not have happened at all.