KEY POINTS

  • Thousands of people at a mass vaccination site in Oakland allegedly received wrong doses
  • One of the medical workers said at least 4,300 people were given botched vaccine dosages
  • The state's emergency services disputed reports and questioned the accuracy of allegations

Thousands of people who visited a mass vaccination site in the Oakland Coliseum in California on Monday received botched doses of the coronavirus vaccine, according to two medical workers. 

The recipients allegedly were given too little of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Health care workers later identified the issue and had it resolved by Monday evening. 

Those who arrived before 2 p.m. that day for their vaccines may have gotten the botched doses, two emergency medical technicians (EMTs) told KTVU Fox 2. One of them believes that at least 4,300 of the 6,000 people vaccinated at the site that day were given the wrong doses. 

The incorrect doses reportedly stemmed from the orange-capped syringes that the EMTs were using to administer the Pfizer vaccine.

Each individual should have received 0.3 ml of vaccine. However, the syringes used are designed in a way that the plunger can’t reach the bottom of the container. This means the EMTs could only administer up to 0.2 ml of vaccine, causing a third of the dose to be wasted. 

The two medical workers claim that the managers and tent leaders at the Oakland vaccination site wanted to dismiss the issue to keep the inoculation numbers high. 

But authorities at the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) disputed the report of botched doses administered at the Oakland Coliseum, expressing “serious concerns” about the accuracy of the allegations. 

“Neither the state of California nor FEMA are aware of any instance of even a single individual being under-vaccinated on the Oakland Coliseum site,” the agency’s statement read. 

“The state and federal partners providing vaccinations at this site, have been working closely with the California Department of Public Health, U.S. Health and Human Services, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention as well as the vaccine manufacturer Pfizer to ensure the highest levels of medical care and quality assurance are adhered to at this site,” the statement continued. 

Cal OES spokesman Brian Ferguson said the agency's stakeholders felt the vaccine doses given that day were "negligible." He also said the stakeholders felt that there was no need to contact the patients who received the vaccine that day in Oakland. Ferguson later noted that the agency talked to health experts and Pfizer, who said the doses followed health guidelines and protocols.

"We don't think anyone was formally underdosed,” he added. 

Concerns have risen that more transmissible coronavirus variants such as the one first detected in South Africa or another in Britain are more resistant to existing vaccines such as the one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech Concerns have risen that more transmissible coronavirus variants such as the one first detected in South Africa or another in Britain are more resistant to existing vaccines such as the one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech Photo: AFP / Luis ROBAYO