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Flu Shot Mistake Puts Babies At Risk for HIV

Posted by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 3:59 PM
  • 14 Replies

Flu Shot Mistake Puts Babies At Risk for HIV

Posted by Christie Haskell
on April 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM

The flu vaccine is a highly debated one, but one many people get for their babies every year. When the child is between 6 and 36 months, they can receive half-doses, and then come back a month later for the second half.

For the parents who choose to get flu vaccinations, you've probably already looked over some of the risks and decided they're worth it for you for the benefits. But a careless mistake at a Fort Collins, Colorado pediatric clinic, Med Peds, added a whole new level of "reaction" for parents to watch out for when getting the flu vaccine -- HIV, Hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases.

A now-former medical assistant apparently took pre-measured syringes and (wrongly) assumed they were the adult dose, gave children only half of the medication in the syringe, and then put the remainder of the syringe into a box labeled "second doses" that is supposed to only contain full, unused vaccine syringes.

The problem then was that children who came back for a second dose got new needles, but ended up being injected with the same syringe that had been used on another child, putting these babies and toddlers at risk for contraction of blood-borne diseases.

The clinic is bringing in all children who were possibly infected for testing, but the problem is it can take 6 months for certain diseases to show up on tests, so even a clean bill of health now isn't entirely a free pass. They have to wait 6 more months and get their kiddos tested again. Poor, poor parents. Can you imagine?

Fortunately the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says the chances of any children contracting anything is really, really low, but still, to a parent, hearing there's a chance at all is just terrifying.

And to add insult to (hopefully hypothetical) injury, now all of these children who were given the half-dose are not at the full immunity the vaccine can provide. The assistant only gave them half of the already-measured children's dose, assuming it was the adult dose and cutting it accordingly.

The clinic promises they're taking many steps to help prevent this in the future. That assistant better pray to whatever god(s) she believes in that none of these kids got any lifelong diseases from the repeated mistake.

Does this kind of thing worry you about the procedures your own office has in place?

by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 3:59 PM
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Replies (1-10):
JazzysWifey
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:02 PM

what kind of moron......?! gah, this is why people are so afraid to let students in training or assistants do any kind of work....

Honeybun09
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Gross. Thank God I never *ever* vaccinate for the flu. Why vaccinate against something your immune system can fight off when there are stupid people out there like that, causing mistakes that are far more dangerous than having the flu itself! HIV risk. I'd be freaking pissed.




MagickalMommy
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:03 PM

OMG! and Heck yeah that worries me! we already VERY selective and delay vaccines and it makes me want to attack anyone who comes near my babies with needles

MommyKelleyX3
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Wow, scary!  We never get the flu shot anyway.

mnt_2_b_mommy
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:29 PM

As a peds nurse i see so much wrong with this. There is no "second dose" container, the half dose is the same whether it's the 1st or 2nd. You would NEVER re-use a leftover portion, and once a vaccine is drawn up it gets thrown out if not used by the person who drew it up. This is a case of a poorly trained, obviously unintelligent MA who didn't know what she was doing. This is far from standard procedure.

Fyi- these cases aren't isolated to flu shots btw.

SarahHasAnEvan
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:39 PM

This have NOTHING to do with the flu vaccine and everything to do with an idiot medical professional. This could have just as easily happened with a needle used to test for low iron. 

This is no reason to re-consider vaccinating your children and every reason to know your clinic well. 

TTC2Long
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:53 PM
This happened to a cm! She posted about it last week. I agree with with mnt_2_b - there's more that's fishy here. Why was there a box labeled "2nd doses" at all? Aren't they both equal doses? I think someone finally figured out what they were up to and the tech is taking the wrap.
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rachelrothchild
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Big oops.  Yeah, my babies aren't getting a flu vaccination or any for that matter.  There are plenty of reasons not to vaccinate apart from mistakes like this.  We vaccinate the crap out of our kids now.

mandjlong
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:55 PM

law suit anyone!

mandjlong
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:58 PM


Quoting SarahHasAnEvan:

This have NOTHING to do with the flu vaccine and everything to do with an idiot medical professional. This could have just as easily happened with a needle used to test for low iron. 

This is no reason to re-consider vaccinating your children and every reason to know your clinic well. 


All this article sats is stay away from fort collions peds!

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