Chula Vista

South Bay Clinic Incorrectly Diluted Nearly 200 COVID-19 Vaccine Administered in Sept.

San Ysidro Health explained that from Sept. 15 to 28, 2021, at its Chula Vista location, 197 Pfizer vaccines were mistakenly combined with sterile water, rather than normal saline as commonly administered

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A San Diego mother says she is furious because of a mistake a local clinic made when giving the COVID-19 vaccine to her 12-year-old son because what the medical center injected was not the right mixture.

When it was their turn to get vaccinated, Valeria and her son Santiago were very happy.

"My son always told me, 'Mommy, can I go to the park?', 'No, until you have the vaccine,' I would say."

Valeria says that it was very important for her that her son be immunized against COVID-19, especially since her husband passed away years ago, and she cannot tolerate another death in her family.

"It's very important for me to have the vaccine, it's a gift,” said the mother, who got vaccinated and hoped to do the same with her son Santiago as soon as he turned 12.

"I said, 'The day he turns 12, that day I want the vaccine for him.'"

And that date came on Sept. 21. She scheduled his appointment at the San Ysidro Health Center on Third Avenue in Chula Vista.

Valeria said she arrived on time for her appointment where they waited 15 minutes to see if she had any reactions. Santiago had no reaction when he received the vaccine or the days that followed.

However, when they were preparing to receive their second dose, they received the news that the clinic had made a mistake when they gave them the first dose so it was not valid and they had to receive the first Pfizer vaccine again, the only one that has so far received emergency approval for children over 12 years old.

"There was no seriousness, there was no ethics, they hid information because if it was Sept. 21, why did they warn me until Oct. 12? They exposed my son because I as a mother thinking that he was already vaccinated, he went to school in person."

Telemundo 20 contacted the San Ysidro Health Center and they confirmed that Valeria's son was not the only one who received the wrong dose. They sent Telemundo 20 the following statement:

"The safety of our patients is our top priority"

The clinic explained that from Sept. 15 to 28, 2021 at its Chula Vista location, 197 Pfizer vaccines were mistakenly combined with sterile water, rather than normal saline as commonly administered.

They added that "the error was identified on Sept. 28 during an internal quality audit" and that "as soon as the error was identified, they immediately contacted the manufacturer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the intention of obtaining guidance," and that "On Oct. 7, the CDC notified San Ysidro Health that the sterile water they had used in those vaccines was not harmful" but they were advised to re-immunize the 197 affected.

San Ysidro Health added that, with the CDC's recommendation, they immediately began contacting affected patients and that they continue to do so.

"I was notified today [Oct. 12], I was notified until today, and I have a call. I wasn't notified before."

Valeria says she still doesn't understand how the mistake happened and while San Ysidro Health didn't explain, they did say these 197 cases don't affect the more than 58,000 vaccines they've given to date.

This story was originally reported by NBC 7's sister station, Telemundo 20. To read the article, click here.

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