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CDC Report: Some Babies Mistakenly Injected with Oral Vaccine

A new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report shows that some healthcare providers made a mistake when giving the rotavirus vaccine to infant patients.  The vaccine protects against a stomach virus that can cause severe diarrhea, and is designed to be given orally, by placing drops in a baby’s mouth.  However, a recent CDC study identifies more than 30 cases in which the vaccine was given as a shot instead of the required oral drops.

According to the CDC, between 2006 and 2013 there were 39 reports of the rotarvirus vaccine being administered as a shot.  Those reports included a cluster of six cases in which the vaccine was given by a nurse who did not receive proper training.  In about 50 percent of cases, the child experienced a side effect of the improper vaccination, including redness at the injection site and irritability.

Explanation for Improper Vaccine Administration

So what caused these errors?  According to the report, the majority of these cases did not provide an explanation.  But for those that did, some of the reasons included inadequate training, misinterpreting or failing to read the vaccine instructions, and confusing the oral vaccine vial with one used for an injectable vaccine.  Since such mistakes can go unreported, the study likely underestimates the number of rotavirus vaccination errors. Still, the report concludes these incidents appear to be rare.   

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