‘No treatment’ for COVID-19 vax overdose
There is "no specific treatment" for an overdose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, according to the product guidelines.
"In the event of an overdose, the individual should be monitored and provided with symptomatic treatment as appropriate," it states.
Similarly, the Pfizer vaccine guidelines state that "in the event of overdose, monitoring of vital functions and possible symptomatic treatment is recommended".
Health Minister Greg Hunt announced on Monday that two Brisbane nursing home residents had accidentally been given four times the recommended dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
The doctor involved has been stood down from the vaccine rollout and the two patients, an 88-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman, were rushed to hospital.
Mr Hunt said the two residents from St Vincent's Holy Spirit in Carseldine were being monitored and no adverse reactions had been reported so far.
"The patients themselves are showing, at this point - on the latest advice that I have, five minutes before joining (you) - absolutely no adverse reaction," Mr Hunt told reporters.
He noted that early clinical trials around the world involved "significantly higher doses" than what was ultimately chosen for the rollout.
"The rollout continues," Mr Hunt said. "There will be cases. There will be challenges. This has happened in other jurisdictions overseas."
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said with the Pfizer vaccine, early clinical trials experimented with doses up to "three or four times higher" that was prescribed.
"During those trials, the side effect data was not a higher problem," he said.
Professor Kelly added that "we are aware of several cases like this happening early in the phased rollout through residential aged care facility dents in Germany and the UK".
"Again, the side effect profile was minimal, particularly in older people, so that gives us hope," he said.
"However, when we were notified of this yesterday evening by the company concerned that is doing the rollout in those facilities, we took immediate action."
Asked how the blunder could have occurred, Mr Hunt stressed that "we have highly developed (training) modules" that were required for everyone involved in the rollout.
"In relation to the individual doctor, we'll leave that to the investigation as to whether or not they either did not understand or did not complete (the training) but it was a is serious breach in terms of following the protocol," he said.
"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."
The most commonly reported side effects for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever.
For the AstraZeneca vaccine, the most commonly reported side effects are headache, nausea, muscle and joint pain, injection site pain, fatigue, malaise, fever and chills.
Originally published as 'No treatment' for COVID-19 vax overdose