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Administration of flu vaccine

Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill today released a report finding a general practitioner (GP) in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code) for failures relating to the administration of the flu vaccine.

A woman presented to a medical centre for an appointment with the GP to receive the flu vaccine.

Before administering the vaccine the GP did not check the syringe visually. Afterwards he realised that the syringe he had used was already empty, had no label and that the plunger was fully decompressed prior to administration. He explained to the woman that either the injection may have been faulty, or it had already been used on an earlier patient.

The woman then asked the GP to continue with the appointment and a second successful flu vaccine was administered. However, there is no record of the woman’s consent to the vaccines or any other documentation in relation to the second vaccine.

The failed vaccine was treated as a needle-stick injury, and the woman underwent serological testing for transmissible diseases.

The Commissioner criticised the GP for failing to check the flu vaccine visually before administering it to the woman. Mr Hill was also critical that the GP failed to document that consent was obtained for both vaccines, as well as all other required documentation for the second vaccine.

Mr Hill recommended that the GP provide HDC with an audit of his clinical documentation and participate in training on vaccine administration. The GP apologised in writing to the woman.

The report for case 18HDC00918 is on the HDC website.

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