The billions of people around the world who have yet to have their first COVID-19 vaccine may want to look away now, because there's a woman in Tuscany, Italy, who has just received six in one go.
The 23-year-old was eligible for the vaccine as she is an intern at the Noa hospital's psychology department, CNN reports. She was supposed to be administered the usual one dose, but the health worker assigned to her emptied the entire bottle into the syringe. The vial contained six doses in total, which would usually be diluted and placed in separate vials.
The health worker assumed that the dilution had already taken place, and only realized the mistake after she had injected the patient, and saw five empty syringes for the remaining five doses.
Though in good health, the intern was kept in for monitoring in the emergency room at the hospital just in case. She was given fluids and anti-inflammatories as a precaution.
"The patient did not have fever and did not have any pain except for pain at the inoculation site, nor any other manifestations," director of infectious diseases at the hospital, Dr Antonella Vicenti told CBS. "She was a bit frightened, thus we preferred to keep her here until this morning."
She added that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which she had been given had been shown to be safe in people who received five times the usual dose.
In Germany at the end of 2020, eight workers at a retirement home were accidentally given five times the normal dose of the same vaccine. Four were admitted to hospital and experienced flu-like symptoms, though nobody became significantly ill. 77 inmates at a prison in Iowa were also given overdoses back in April. None had severe reactions above and beyond people who received the correct amount of the vaccine.
The patient in Italy was kept in for 24 hours before being released, with no serious side effects either. The hospital will regularly test her blood in order to measure her antibody levels, and whether she may need a second dose of the jab (which would technically be her seventh) following a suitable gap.
The incident, put down to an attention lapse by the nurse involved, has prompted the hospital to review safety procedures.