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.