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Reports of underdosing at Coliseum vaccine site are false, state officials say – San Francisco Chronicle

reports-of-underdosing-at-coliseum-vaccine-site-are-false,-state-officials-say-–-san-francisco-chronicle

Michael Williams, Meghan Bobrowsky, Catherine Ho

Healthcare workers signal that their row of cars is finished as Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were administered to the public for the first day of mass vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
1of5Healthcare workers signal that their row of cars is finished as Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were administered to the public for the first day of mass vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
A California National Guard member carries prepped Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to the healthcare workers as vaccinations were administered to the public for the first day of max vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
2of5A California National Guard member carries prepped Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to the healthcare workers as vaccinations were administered to the public for the first day of max vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
Recipients wait in an observation area in their cars after Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were administered to the public for the first day of max vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
3of5Recipients wait in an observation area in their cars after Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were administered to the public for the first day of max vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
One of several drive through canopies where drivers pass as Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were administered to the public for the first day of max vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
4of5One of several drive through canopies where drivers pass as Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were administered to the public for the first day of max vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
A California National Guard member directs traffic as Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were administered to the public for the first day of mass vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
5of5A California National Guard member directs traffic as Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were administered to the public for the first day of mass vaccinations at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

State officials are pushing back against a TV report that said thousands of people vaccinated at the Oakland Coliseum this week received doses smaller than they should be.

Citing two unnamed emergency medical technicians, KTVU reported Wednesday that about 4,300 people who were vaccinated at the Oakland Coliseum before 2 p.m. on Monday “received the wrong vaccine doses” of the Pfizer vaccine because the syringes left some vaccine in the bottom of the container instead of injecting it all.

State officials who run the clinic told The Chronicle that they recently began using a new type of syringe. But they strongly denied that anybody at the Coliseum received too little vaccine.

“We are not aware of any instance of even a single individual being under-vaccinated on the Oakland Coliseum site,” said Brian Ferguson, a spokesman with the California Office of Emergency Services, which operates the Coliseum site with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

State officials have not warned vaccine recipients of any problem, they said, because there is no problem.

KTVU reported that the EMTs said the syringes were “designed in such a way so the plunger can’t reach all the way down,” leaving the syringes to administer less than the full dose of vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends the Pfizer vaccine be administered in two doses of 0.3 milliliters apiece.

But a study from the New England Journal of Medicine says that people who receive 0.2mL of the vaccine will have about just as much immunity to the virus as the ones who receive 0.3mL, said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at UCSF.

Other infectious disease experts reached by The Chronicle declined to say whether they thought a smaller dose would be as effective as the full amount. All said the vaccine manufacturer would have to answer such a question.

Pfizer declined to comment.

The Coliseum opened on Feb. 16 as one of the first mass-vaccination sites in California. Federal and state officials said the goal is to administer up to 6,000 doses of the vaccine per day at the site, but supply issues have been a problem at the Coliseum and other vaccination sites.

Vaccine for the Coliseum comes from the federal government and not from the state’s overall allocation.

Michael Williams, Meghan Bobrowsky and Catherine Ho are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

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