Toddler Given Wrong Vaccine in Scary Clinic Mix-Up

child vaccineTaking your child to the doctor for shots is always a little bit scary, but you can usually be pretty confident they're at least being dosed with the right vaccine. Right? Well, sorry to ruin that beautiful dream for you, but a recent audit at a South Jersey clinic showed at least five kids were given doses of the wrong immunization.

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The mistakes happened during a Salem County–sponsored "Shots For Tots" event held at the clinic. Officials reviewed 22 patient records and found that at least five of them showed errors. These errors included either the wrong dosage or the wrong immunization entirely. The biggest mistake was a 2-year-old boy who was accidentally given a high dosage of Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine commonly given to kids starting at age 9. He's OK for now, but doctors warned he could suffer neurological damage.

Parents and pediatricians were notified immediately following the audit, and officials said they will pay for continued medical monitoring of all the kids. A nurse at the clinic was also fired.

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The unfortunate truth is that only properly trained medical staff could have prevented this. I check my kids' medical records and ask plenty of questions, but when I'm watching my child get the actual shot, I don't know the difference between Gardasil and MMR. They all look the same in the vial. Parents rely on nurses and doctors to double- and triple-check that kids are being dosed correctly, and in this instance, they really dropped the ball.

Vaccines are incredibly important, but they're also controversial right now. Thousands of parents are scared and looking for reasons not to vaccinate their kids. Things like this don't help. There has to be a high level of transparency and accountability in medical settings to help alleviate some of those unfounded fears.

In an ideal world, everyone would be safely and effectively vaccinated. As it stands, we can't ensure that is always the case, but we should at least be able to promise that kids are receiving the correct shots 100 percent of the time.

Do these kinds of mistakes make you afraid to get your child vaccinated?


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