FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Parents whose children got flu shots at a clinic in Fort Collins are being told their children should be tested for blood borne illnesses after an employee at the clinic mistakenly re-used syringes of medicine.
It’s serious enough that a physician at Med Peds Clinic says the medical assistant who was giving the flu vaccines was immediately fired after someone else in the office noticed that vaccine from the same plastic syringes was being given to two different children.
A letter to parents says the risk of a disease like hepatitis or HIV being transmitted is very low.
Elena Gjini is 11 months old and looks healthy as can be. But now her father, Orges Gjini, is worried sick after receiving the letter and a phone call from the Med Peds Clinic recommending that some of their youngest patients, including Elena, be tested.
“At 11 months, being put at risk for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, that’s something no parent should have to hear,” Orges said.
In the letter Med Peds says a medical assistant using prefilled syringes mistakenly gave children half a dose.
“She then removed the needle (using sterile procedure), replaced it with a new, unused, sterile needle and placed the syringes into a box labeled ‘second doses,’” the letter states.
The half-filled syringes were then used on some patients returning for their second flu vaccine. The clinic consulted state health officials and told parents “we have been assured that the risk of your child acquiring any infectious disease is very low.”
“It says it’s a very low risk, but any risk is too much,” Orges said.
“We are extremely dismayed by these events and are very sorry for any trouble or distress this may cause you,” the letter states.
“There is no way of calming down a parent by just saying that the risk is really low,” Orges said. “They’ve placed a child at a grave risk to where she may have contracted HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, but the risk is very low so don’t worry too much about it. It just doesn’t work that way.”
Now after getting her blood tested, Elena’s father is waiting for the results.