Both patients are recovering in hospital and the Minister for Health Greg Hunt said in a press conference this morning they are “doing fine”.
The two were residents at Holy Spirit Nursing Home in Carseldine, Brisbane.
It is believed the incorrect doses were administered in error, and the doctor has been stood down from the vaccine rollout program.
The error was picked up by a nurse who stepped in when the second dose was given, immediately after the first incorrect dose.
“I want to thank her for her strength of character and her professionalism,” said Hunt.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said similar errors were made early in the vaccine rollouts in Germany and the UK, and the side effects were “minimal”.
The Minister said the fact that the error has been picked up and dealt with in a transparent manner indicates the rollout systems are working.
“It’s very important for us to be open about this,” he said.
Early clinical trials experimented with differing doses, including three or four times the current recommended dose, and side effects were “not a problem”, said Kelly.
“There will be challenges or issues… because of the focus [on the vaccine rollout] things that would ordinarily occur are given great national prominence,” Hunt said.
The Minister said data from Scotland has shown “very encouraging” results from the initial vaccine rollout.
Within three weeks of the start of the rollout, for the AstraZeneca, there was a 94% decrease in hospitalisation and for the Pfizer vaccine an 85% decrease.