Concerns Raised About Proper Vaccine Storage

ABC News posted an interesting story this week on potential problems with the storage of vaccines. Our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys appreciate that these concerns are yet another example of medical treatments that are supposed to make patients well but instead have the opposite effect of causing more harm. It is crucial to raise awareness of these issue so that changes are made to prevent future problems.

The article shared the details about a new government report (the full report can be found here) which suggests that there are a wealth of problems with immunization storage. In particular, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG) found that many of the products meant for low-income children are not stored at the proper temperature.

What does that mean?

The report explains that improper storage might cause the immunization to lose its effectiveness. That means that children may not be protected and instead remain at risk of contracting extremely serious diseases.

The Study
The HHS OIG study involved visiting 45 different vaccine providers in at least five different states. The providers were those who offered free immunizations as part of a government program called “Vaccines for Children” (VFC). All told about 44,000 offices nationwide participate in the VFC program. This is not just a charity effort on the clinic’s part. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services pay for the vaccines which are distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What specifically did they find?

Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys were disheartened to learn that a shocking 76% of providers stored the vaccines at incorrect temperatures–either too hot or too cold. In addition, 13% of the providers stored not expired vaccines with expired ones, meaning that it was possible for mix-ups to be made so that patients received the expired ones. On top of that, literally all of the clinics failed to properly manage the vaccines according to VFC guidelines.

All told, counting just the small sample observed in the study, more than $800,000 of taxpayer money was wasted on potentially defective vaccines. The cost nationwide is likely very significant.

Perhaps even worse, thousands of children may not be protected as planned. The report issued a startling summary: As a result, the 20,252 VFC vaccine doses that we observed during the site visits may not provide children with maximum protection against preventable diseases and may be vulnerable to fraud waste and abuse.”

It does not take a medical malpractice lawyer to appreciate the unacceptable mistakes this report documents.

Hopefully this report stirs change. Since the report’s release many clinicians have admitted that it was a needed reminder of the importance of properly storing all vaccines. The storage must be monitored at every stage, from the time it leaves the manufacturer until it arrives in the clinic and then is used on a patient. Any mistakes throughout that chain may leave patients unknowingly less protected.

If you believe that you or a loved one may have been hurt by an improper vaccine, be sure to seek out legal help to ensure your rights are protected.

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