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Technically Speaking
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June 2020
Technically Speaking
Monthly Column by Deborah Wexler, MD
Deborah Wexler MD
IAC Executive Director Dr. Deborah Wexler writes Technically Speaking, a column featured in each issue of Vaccine Update for Healthcare Professionals, the monthly e-newsletter from the Vaccine Education Center (VEC) at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Technically Speaking columns cover practical topics in immunization delivery such as vaccine administration techniques, storage and handling, contraindications and precautions, and scheduling.
Subscribe to VEC's Vaccine Update for Healthcare Professionals to stay up to date on vaccine-related issues, including reviews of recently published journal articles, media recaps, and announcements about new resources and webinars. To subscribe, visit the Vaccine Update Newsletter Sign-up Form
The archive of past Technically Speaking columns is also available through links on the right side of this web page.
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING
Preventing Preventable Vaccine Administration Errors in Your Medical Setting
Published June 2020
It's a dreaded scenario. Suddenly one of your staff members comes into your office and says, "We have a problem. We've given the wrong vaccine to one of our patients." Or even worse, they might begin to describe errors with multiple vaccines and/or multiple patients. No one ever wants this scene to play out in their medical setting. So how do you prevent these preventable errors?

One way to prevent errors is to have everyone involved in vaccine administration in your healthcare setting review IAC's educational handout, Don't Be Guilty of These Preventable Errors in Vaccine Administration. Some of the mistakes highlighted on this four-page handout have more serious consequences than others, but none of these preventable errors should occur.

This practical tool lists eleven preventable errors and, for each one, provides advice on:

  1. how to prevent the error and
  2. helpful resources that can be consulted for further information.

As detailed on the handout, are any of these preventable errors occurring in your practice?

  • Not using a standardized checklist to screen patients for contraindications and precautions to vaccination
  • Administering the wrong vaccine due to similarities in vaccine names (e.g., DTaP for Tdap, zoster for varicella, PPSV23 for PCV13)
  • Using the wrong diluent or administering the diluent only
  • Administering a vaccine after the expiration date
  • Administering vaccine in the wrong site or by the wrong route
  • Giving a vaccine dose earlier than the recommended age or interval
  • Giving two doses of live injectable or nasally administered vaccines too close together (leading to potential interference between these vaccines)
  • Giving the wrong dosage amount for the patient's age (e.g., influenza, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B vaccines)
  • Giving both pneumococcal vaccines PPSV23 (Pneumovax) and PCV13 (Prevnar 13) on the same day
  • Administering a vaccine outside of its ACIP-recommended age/dose schedule (e.g., DTaP-IPV, MMRV)
  • Administering a vaccine using the wrong needle length

Your patients count on you to administer vaccines safely, effectively, and correctly. All of these errors can be prevented with forethought and perhaps additional staff training. So DO be guilty of correcting these potential problem areas in your medical setting. And remember, the old saying is true: prevention is indeed the best medicine—for both you and your patients.

Other Helpful Vaccine Administration Resources

The archive of past Technically Speaking columns is also available through links on the right side of this web page.
 
This page was updated on July 3, 2020.
This page was reviewed on July 3, 2020
2020 ISSUES >> view all issues
SEPTEMBER 2020
Is It 0.25 mL or 0.5 mL? What Is the Correct Dose of Injectable Flu Vaccine for Children Younger Than 3?
JULY 2020
Choosing Proper Needle Length for Vaccination of Children and Adults: What Should You Consider?
JUNE 2020
Preventing Preventable Vaccine Administration Errors in Your Medical Setting
MAY 2020
IAC Launches New MenB Vaccination Honor Roll Recognizing Colleges and Universities That Require or Recommend the Vaccine to Protect Their Students
APRIL 2020
Our Society Deserves Vaccination: Two New Educational Pieces from IAC Explain the Science Supporting Vaccines and the Value of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
MARCH 2020
Now Available to Order! IAC's Laminated Versions of CDC's 2020 Immunization Schedules
FEBRUARY 2020
Sign up for IAC Express—the Best Way to Stay Current with Weekly U.S. Immunization News, Information, and Resources
JANUARY 2020
CDC Releases 2020 Version of Its Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit
    >> view all issues
2019 ISSUES >> view all issues
DECEMBER 2019
ACIP Updates Its Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations for Adults Age 65 Years and Older
NOVEMBER 2019
ACIP Votes to Approve That Tdap and Td Vaccines May Now Be Used Interchangeably
OCTOBER 2019
CDC Updates Recommendations on the Use of HPV Vaccine
SEPTEMBER 2019
"Dear Colleague" Call-to-Action Letter from AAFP, AAP, ACHA, ACOG, APhA, SAHM, and IAC Stresses Importance of Implementing Immunization Visit at 16 Years of Age
AUGUST 2019
Newly Designed and Easy to Navigate—Visit Give2MenACWY.org to Enhance Your Efforts to Increase Rates for MenACWY Booster Doses and Other Adolescent Vaccinations
JULY 2019
ACIP Updates Its Guidance on the Use of HPV, PCV13, HepA, HPV, and MenB Vaccines at June 26–27 Meeting
JUNE 2019
Looking for New Tools and Resources to Help Increase Your Clinic's HPV Vaccination Rates? Here Are Some Great Ones!
MAY 2019
How to Protect Children, Adults, and Healthcare Personnel from Measles
APRIL 2019
Refresher! Use of Pneumococcal Vaccines in Infants and Children, as well as in Children with Health Conditions
MARCH 2019
With Measles "Breaking Out" All over the United States, Here Are Some Good Educational Resources
FEBRUARY 2019
Questions about Proper Vaccine Storage and Handling? CDC's Redesigned Toolkit Has Answers!
JANUARY 2019
Want to Avoid Vaccination Errors? These Print Materials and Slide Sets Will Help You!
    >> view all issues
 
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