This site is intended for health professionals only

Common pitfalls for flu vaccines revealed

22 October 2013

Share this article

Failure to properly monitor fridge temperatures for vaccines has been described as “shocking care” by the Chief Inspector of General Practice, Professor Steve Field. 

And UK-wide medical defence organisation MDDUS has revealed that some patients have had to be recalled as a result of failure to monitor temperatures. 

MDDUS medical adviser Dr Naeem Nazem said the vaccines may not have worked. 

He said: “As well as monitoring temperatures, the expiration date should also be regularly checked, as we have handled cases where expired vaccines have been used.” 

The MDDUS has revealed the five most common pitfalls relating to flu vaccinations as: 

 – Equipment – ensure fridges are functioning effectively and are at the correct temperature. Also, ensure syringes are sterile – one MDDUS case involved an empty syringe being reused

 – Dose – ensure the dose is appropriate for each patient. Another MDDUS complaint related to a patient being given two doses of vaccine

 – Vaccine type – ensure the vaccine is suitable for your patient. MDDUS has dealt with cases involving patients being given the wrong type of vaccine

 – Delegation – ensure those administering vaccines are entitled to do so. For example, healthcare assistants cannot administer vaccines under a patient group direction (PGD)

 – Consent – ensure you have patient consent and take extra care when vaccinating young children as consent is required from a person with parental responsibility

Dr Naeem Nazem said: “Doctors can avoid some of these pitfalls by being up to date on NHS guidance.”