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Singapore National Eye Centre staff receives 5 doses of Covid-19 vaccine by mistake

Facebook user asks: 'Why was the news hidden from the public for close to a month?'

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Singapore – A Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) staff member received the equivalent of five doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by mistake.

It was a human error caused by a lapse in communication among members of the vaccination team, said the SNEC on Saturday (Feb 6), three weeks after the incident, straitstimes.com reported.

The incident occurred during a vaccination exercise on Jan 14.

The SNEC said it has been following up closely with the staff member who remains well.

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The incident occurred after the worker in charge of diluting the vaccine was called away to attend to other matters before fishing the task. Another staff member then mistook the undiluted dose in the vial to be ready for administering.

Minutes after the vaccination, the staff discovered the error. “Senior doctors were alerted immediately, and the staff (member) was assessed and found to be well, with no adverse reaction or side effects,” said the SNEC.

The affected worker was warded at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) for further monitoring. He was discharged two days later.

The vaccination exercise at the SNEC was halted immediately as a safety measure. The remaining staff members were vaccinated at SGH instead.

According to the report, the SNEC has apologised to the affected staff member and the worker’s family. “SNEC takes a very serious view of this incident. The safety of those receiving the vaccination during our staff vaccination exercise is of our utmost priority,” said the medical director of the centre, Professor Wong Tien Yin.

He noted that the centre had conducted a thorough review of its internal processes, and steps were taken to ensure such lapses do not happen again. The worker involved in vaccine administration had also been counselled, reported straitstimes.com.

In response to the news, a member of the public, Simon Lim, took to Facebook to question the delay in disclosing the information. “I ask why was the news hidden from the public for close to a month,” asked Mr Lim. “I accept that human errors do occur from time to time, and I appreciate the prompt medical attention rendered to the affected worker.”

Mr Lim also commended the SNEC for immediately halting vaccination exercises. However, he expressed “disappointment that the news was hidden from the public at a time when we are encouraging members of the public to rally positively to go for their Covid-19 jabs.”

“The government has to understand that at a time of massive hesitations and reservations from large quarters of our population regarding Covid-19 and its potential side effects further down the road, transparency commands a high premium.”

Covid-19 vaccine overdoses are “unlikely to be harmful”, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday.

MOH said, “Clinical trial data from Pfizer-BioNTech has indicated that receiving more than the recommended dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is unlikely to be harmful.”

The agency added it has not been notified of other similar incidents at other vaccination sites and noted there are robust medical protocols in place to ensure the public’s safety during vaccination.

“These include protocols for vaccination processes on dose preparation, dilution and vaccine administration, including the need for clear indication to differentiate diluted and undiluted vaccine vials.”/TISG

Read related: SGH: Woman warded after receiving Covid-19 vaccine shows no evidence symptoms are linked to vaccination

SGH: Woman warded after receiving Covid-19 vaccine shows no evidence symptoms are linked to vaccination

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