The New York Times was forced to issue a correction admitting it had inflated the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations of children by more than 800,000.

The Times published an article Wednesday discussing the possibility of single-dose COVID-19 vaccines for children. In the original version, reporter Apoorva Mandavilli wrote that “[n]early 900,000 children have been hospitalized with Covid-19 since the pandemic began.”

On Thursday, the Times corrected the article to say that “[m]ore than 63,000 children were hospitalized with Covid-19 from August 2020 to October 2021.”

“How did an error that large happen, @NYTimes?” Pluribus editor Jeryl Bier asked in a tweet on Friday.

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It was one of three errors the Times had to correct.

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The original article said Sweden and Denmark had begun offering single doses of the vaccine to children. In the correction, the Times said those two countries had, in fact, halted the use of the vaccine in children, which is a stark contrast to the original claim.

“In addition, the article misstated the timing of an F.D.A. meeting on authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children. It is later this month, not next week,” the lengthy correction said in conclusion.

The errors drew mockery and criticism on Twitter.



Jeremy Brown, an expert in respiratory diseases at University College London, told the Times he could not “make the absolute statement that it’s totally safe to give this vaccine.” He also suggested vaccinating children was morally wrong given our current knowledge on COVID-19 and the vaccine.

“The chance of getting severe Covid in a healthy 12- to 15-year-old is almost negligible,” he said. “Against that, you have to make sure that the vaccine that you’re giving is utterly safe. … You don’t vaccinate a 15-year-old to prevent them infecting other adults — that’s not morally, ethically the right thing to do.”