Lack of flu-shot safety device poses problem for worker

By: November 3rd, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Flu vaccination has just begun, and already there is a problem. But this issue affects employees rather than patients.

The California Department of Public Health found that pre-filled Fluvirin syringes by Novartis lacked a safety device that protects healthcare workers from needlesticks, according to a report from the International Sharps Injury Prevention Society (ISIPS). These products have been distributed nationwide.

Although the label on the vaccine noted there was a pre-filled syringe, it did not indicate it had a permanently affixed 5/8 inch needle as well. Employers under federal and state OSHA standards are required by to provide devices with engineered sharps injury protection.

According to ISIPS, Novartis has agreed to replace the product with syringes with a “luer” connection, which allow safety needles to be attached. Click here for the Novartis hazard alert and information on replacing  the pre-filled syringes.

Have you noticed safety devices when administering flu shots? If not, did you point out the potential hazard to your safety officer as an OSHA violation? Let us know in the comments section below.


By Debbie Smoyer on November 5th, 2008 at 11:02 am

I had to scramble to get safety device needles for my employees while I gave 80 plus flu shots without them. Our facility is now safe.

By Laura Hall, RN,MPH,CIC on November 6th, 2008 at 11:38 am

Not only did we receive syringes with no safety needle, the needles were also too short to administer an IM injection to anyone over 130#. We had to re-administer many shots, as SQ administration does not deliver the flu vaccine adequately. There was nothing in the vaccine info from Novartis to indicate limited usage.
I have contacted the company and am awaiting their full response.

By NJ Merritt, RN on November 8th, 2008 at 8:40 am

Are you aware that the flu vaccine from Glaxo Smith Kline comes in a prefilled syringe with latex components? This is not mentioned in the package insert, but rather in 2 lines on the box that are not even in bold face print.This requires completion of a latex sensitivity questionnaire to protect the recipient and the person administering the vaccine.

I have contacted the company and am awaiting a reply.

This is hard to believe in the latex free environment in which we all practice in the United States.

Buyer Beware.

By Bill Kincaid on December 5th, 2008 at 11:43 am

And that’s business for you – a product designed with little attention to what the end-user truly needs, but successfully marketed and sold to our purchasing departments, possibly sight unseen; delivered untested and unapproved to the people with the expertise who will be required to use it.

Sometimes I think we succeed in spite of ourselves.


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