Flu Shot Mistake Puts Babies At Risk for HIV

Christie Haskell
18

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?

 

Image via Daniel Paquet/Flickr

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