Administering the wrong vaccine tops common vaccine errors list: analysis

Among the 1,440 vaccine errors reported to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a third of them were because of age-related mistakes, such as the incorrect dosage or the wrong vaccine. 

In a report released Sept. 22, the ISMP found that nearly 70 percent of vaccine errors from June 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021, happened with COVID-19 doses. Of the other vaccines administered during this time — such as flu, tetanus, hepatitis and combination vaccines — a wrong vaccine made up 24 percent of errors, an expired dose 14 percent and the wrong age 13 percent. 

To resolve this issue, the ISMP recommends clear labeling between pediatric and adult vaccines, separate storage for each, and verifying the patient's age. 

Failing to realize the difference between pediatric and adult doses has been a common issue for years, and it doesn't seem to be lessening, the ISMP said: "The frequency of mix-ups between age-related formulations of these four vaccines has not improved much during the past decade."

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