14-year-old girl receives COVID vaccine not approved for those under 18

NKY Health Dept.: 'It is very regrettable'
A 14-year-old Covington girl's COVID vaccination card shows she received the J&J vaccine, which is not FDA approved for anyone under 18.
Posted at 4:52 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 20:54:58-05

FLORENCE, KY — The Northern Kentucky Health Department confirmed Thursday that on Oct. 16 a nurse acting on their behalf gave a 14-year-old girl a vaccine that was not FDA approved for anyone under the age of 18.

The girl's vaccination card, which includes her birth date, shows she received the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

J&J's vaccine is FDA-approved for adults 18 or older.

Only Pfizer's COVID vaccine is FDA-approved for children ages 5-17.

"That was a mistake," said Steve Divine, Interim Co-Director of the Northern Kentucky Health Department. "In this particular case, although it was an isolated incident, it is very regrettable."

The girl's mother, Rolina Mason, said her daughter wanted the J&J vaccine because it was a single dose.

"My daughter was reluctant on getting the vaccine, so for her to make this choice was pretty big," Mason said.

Rolina Mason's 14-year-old daughter was given the J&J COVID vaccine, which is not FDA approved for anyone under 18.
Rolina Mason's 14-year-old daughter was given the J&J COVID vaccine, which is not FDA approved for anyone under 18.

Mason said she was with her daughter and approved the nurse giving her the J&J vaccine, but Mason insisted she didn't know the J&J vaccine wasn't FDA-approved for anyone under 18.

"She only wanted one shot, so she said, 'Mom, can I get the Johnson & Johnson?' And they said it was fine for her to get and she got it," Mason said.

Mason said her daughter got vaccinated at a free clinic held at Covington Holmes High School.

The event had several partners, including the NFL, CDC, and Northern Kentucky Health Department, according to the Covington School District.

The Covington School District declined to comment on the incident.

Mason said about a week after her daughter got the J&J vaccine, the health department told her that her daughter should have received the Pfizer vaccine because J&J's vaccine is not FDA-approved for anyone under 18.

"I was pretty much in shock," Mason said.

Mason said her daughter had a bad skin reaction after getting the vaccine. She said the rash went away after a day or so.

Skin rashes are an extremely rare symptom after getting the vaccine, according to the CDC.

But overall, Mason said her daughter hasn't experienced any significant side effects.

"When she (the nurse) said it was okay for her to get the Johnson & Johnson, I just kind of trusted it," Mason said.

Divine said the health department discovered the mistake, called the girl's parent and made sure the child was OK.

He said the health department documented what happened and filed reports with the appropriate agencies.

Divine said steps have been taken to prevent this from happening again, although it's not clear what's required to prevent it except to say that the vaccine the girl wanted isn't FDA-approved for anyone under 18 and the health department won't give it to you.