Investigation into vaccine error due to end next month

A health chief has again apologised after hundreds of patients were asked to be revaccinated following the improper storage of medicines at Lerwick Health Centre.

Simon Bokor-Ingram, director of community health and social care, told a health board meeting on Tuesday “clearly we understand the distress this has caused to a number of individuals”, noting in particular the effect on children and their parents.

The investigation is expected to be finished by mid-May.

An update was provided to NHS Shetland members after vaccines were found to have been stored in health centre fridges at the wrong temperature.

Last month the health board said a routine check at the Lerwick practice on 19th February found some vaccines had been kept above the range of 2ºC to 8ºC for short periods since 1st August last year.

Members heard this week that three revaccination sessions had been held since 24th March.

A total of 260 people needed to be revaccinated with 135 people treated so far.

Chief community nurse Edna Mary Watson said Dr Susan Laidlaw,  who is a consultant in public health medicine, had been at all the clinics to speak to patients if they wanted more advice.

“It has been difficult but on the day I think it has worked really quite well,” said Ms Watson of the sessions.

Ms Watson noted a range of revaccinations including those related to shingles, hepatitis B, and travel vaccinations.

Another round of sessions would be held, she said and expected the majority of patients to be revaccinated by mid-June.

Mr Bokor-Ingram said, “we’re following up every individual” and those who had not been into the practice were being contacted by phone or letter.

He said the investigation was ongoing and to date had been in two parts.

The first element was around “equipment, systems and processes” at the practice.

The second, added Mr Bokor-Ingram, was “the people element to it”.


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