Local, state, and federal health officials are reminding clinicians and occupational medicine providers to follow safe immunizations practices in the wake of serial missteps during a workplace vaccination program in New Jersey. An article published in the December 18 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report notes “disregard for basic vaccine safety” that set in motion a mad scramble to assess and contain any potential danger to 67 workers whom they believe received shots with a reused syringe. The authors note multiple errors, some of them systemic, including:
- Shipping of influenza vaccine to the home of a contract nurse, where it was stored in a home refrigerator without temperature monitoring
- Vaccine transport from the nurse’s home to the vaccination site in unmonitored containers with cold packs
- The nurse bringing three multidose vials of vaccine intended for another event to the vaccination site instead of the prefilled, single-dose syringes intended for the event in question
- Use of just two syringes that happened to be in the nurse’s supplies to administer vaccine to 67 employees
- The nurse trying to minimize the threat of contamination by wiping the syringes with alcohol and using just a new needle for each subject
- Administering inadequate vaccine doses by drawing 67 doses from only two of the 10-dose vials
A local urgent care center worked with the municipal health department to conduct blood testing, provide postexposure preventive care with hepatitis B vaccine, and readminister influence vaccine in correct doses. The urgent care center also provided mental health and HIV counsellors.