Nearly 70 employees of Princeton, NJ outlet, Otsuka Pharmaceutical are being screened for HIV and hepatitis after a nurse was found reusing a syringe to administer flu shots.
Update: License Suspended for Nurse Who Reused Syringes
The indiscretion comes after health care provider TotalWellness confirmed that the nurse contracted to carry out the flu shots had failed to follow proper medical procedures and safeguards.
The reason why the nurse did not follow universal standard procedure is not at present necessarily understood. However, a public health official mentioned that the nurse had changed the needle each time but has used the same syringe.
News about the blunder has started circulating after the New Jersey Department of Health sent out letters to the 67 pharmaceutical co-workers only two days after the vaccinations to give notice about the possible occurrence of contamination because the syringe ‘was reused multiple times’.
It was written that the risk of infection was “low” but all affected employees have had to undergo testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
Moreover, the nurse also administered a dose of the vaccine that was less than the recommended amount, officials said.
It was also stated that: “Receiving less than the recommended amount is not harmful, but you might not be fully protected against the flu.
“We are recommending that you get another flu shot this season to ensure that you are completely protected.”
The error has caused anxiety to the individuals who have been exposed to ‘infected blood’ and the possibility of having HIV and hepatitis. They are now facing a long wait as it can be months before serious infections such as HIV show up in blood work.
Patients must be re-tested in four to six months before they can be assured that this matter is resolved.
Currently, it is not known whether the involved nurse will face disciplinary action.