A patient who had attended a Tallinn clinic in the hopes of getting a vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis ended up getting a coronavirus vaccine instead. The individual had already been vaccinated against COVID-19, though no ill-effects are likely to appear from the additional, unwanted shot, experts say.
The individual, Katariine-Jette Sõerde, told ERR that she had been to a clinic operated by private sector firm Confido, at the Lasnamäe Centrum east of Tallinn city center on Monday in the hopes of getting inoculated against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) but instead received an extra dose of the Janssen coronavirus vaccine.
She said: "I went to the Confido private clinic yesterday to get the tick-borne encephalitis vaccination, I got the injection. I had started to leave, this was probably 15 minutes after the injection, when the clinic called me."
On being asked if she had received a coronavirus vaccine before: "I answered yes, after which they asked why I had been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine. I replied that I had come for a tick-borne encephalitis injection this time, not against COVID-19, and they hurriedly summonsed me back."
Sõerde said she duly went back to the clinic and talked to a doctor, who said that a third dose of coronavirus vaccine (the Janssen vaccine is a one-shot product, but most coronavirus vaccination courses require two doses – ed.) should not in theory lead to any problems, adding that if her condition worsened, she should see either a family doctor or go to an emergency clinic.
Confido board member Kadi Lambot told ERR the incident had been a case of human error, one which had been noted and flagged up by the nurse who had administered the shot immediately after it had taken place, hence why Sõerde was contacted so quickly.
Lambot said that: "Of course, we are responsible for our actions," adding that the clinic's own doctor has talked with the patient, examined their well-being, while the company will offer any necessary subsequent treatment.
Professor Irja Lutsar, the head of the government's coronavirus advisory council, said that nothing unusual is likely to happen in the case of receiving a third coronavirus dose inadvertently.
Lutsar said: "In all likelihood, nothing will happen, though it shouldn't be the rule. Adenovirus vector vaccines are very well suited to primary vaccinations, but most likely [future] re-vaccinations will arrive using another vaccine product."
Sõerde said she had, in retrospect, found it strange that she had been asked to sit at the clinic for 15 minutes after getting what she thought was the tick vaccine – a 15-minute delay before leaving is standard with coronavirus vaccines as a safety measure in case of any adverse reactions – but added that she found it hard to believe she had been injected with the wrong vaccine.
While the clinic staff warned she might start to feel bad, Sõerde said this did not transpire. "Maybe it was a slight dizziness, but nothing crazy," she said.
Whether Sõerde has been back to get her TBE vaccine yet has not been reported.
Editor: Andrew Whyte