What Happens When Your COVID-19 Vaccine Dosage Is Too High

Receiving too high of a dose of any medicine is never ideal, and this goes for the COVID-19 vaccine as well. Unfortunately, there have been recent reports of overdoses of this vaccine used in the ongoing pandemic. Many may wonder, how can this happen? Jim Buttery, M.D, MS.c, M.B.B.S, an infectious diseases physician and vaccinologist, explains to ABC News why receiving too high of a vaccine dosage is possible. "Multi-dose vaccines and vaccines that need to be reconstituted are more likely to have errors associated with their administration," he says. Adding, "The manufacturer knew this, but in context, when they have those discussions, they have to weigh it in terms of risk versus error versus efficacy and speed."

Just as there are individual reactions to the vaccine's side effects, the reactions to an overdose of the vaccine have also been varied. According to Insider, 77 inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison received six times the regular amount of the Pfizer vaccine. None of them were hospitalized, but there were several inmates who claimed to have suffered from body aches and fevers.

Similar overdose incidents have resulted varied reactions

A similar incident happened when eight healthcare workers in Stralsund, Germany were given too much of the Pfizer vaccine due to admission error, states ABC News. Half of them had no symptoms and the other half went to the hospital with flu-like symptoms but were later discharged. The Straits Times also reported an accidental overdose of the same vaccine brand to a staff member at the Singapore National Eye Centre. He was taken to the hospital for monitoring for two days and then released after having no adverse reaction.

Human error and administering mistakes can unfortunately happen from time to time. Of the cases reported, it appears fever and flu-like symptoms were among the most common symptoms of an accidental overdose of the COVID-19 vaccine. "I think it's critical that everyone who administers these vaccines has the appropriate training, both for vaccines in general, and this vaccine in particular," says Buttery to ABC News. 

To ensure this won't happen for any vaccine you take in the future, make sure you are receiving the medicine by a trusted and accredited medical professional. And call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns leading up to your vaccination appointment.