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What are vaccination errors?

Vaccination errors are considered to be any event associated with vaccination processes that was both preventable and has the possibility to lead to patient harm. Types of errors include incorrect injection practices, inappropriate dosages or incorrect storage of vaccine products.

Vaccination errors are not always related to adverse health effects from vaccines. In some cases, a vaccine can be administered following all requirements and recommendations, yet an adverse health effect still occurs. An adverse health effect is defined as any health impact that occurs after an immunization takes place. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that adverse health effects may not or may be related to a vaccine causally.

The CDC and Food and Drug Administration jointly administer a system for receiving reports of adverse vaccine reactions. According to the CDC, the system received approximately 36,000 reports each year from 2009 through 2013. Some errors that have been involved with such reports include accidental exposure through the immunization process, inappropriate site administration, wrong technique in administering drugs, contaminated or poor quality vaccine product, issues with labels or warning information and giving vaccines to the wrong patient.

Out of over 300,000 reports from 2009 through 2013, 5,204 reports included an adverse health event. Of those events, 8 percent, or 407, were considered serious reports.

While the numbers indicate that a serious injury from a vaccine error is not a high likelihood, the fact that it does happen at all bears some consideration. Asking for clarification from medical professionals about all treatments received can help reduce the chance that you or your family members experience an error. If you do experience serious health effects from an error, then you have legal rights to seek compensation for damages and losses.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Vaccination Errors Reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 2000-2013," accessed Aug. 28, 2015

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