RM Alert: Vaccine Mix-Ups

Did you know that pharmacies have provided more than 141 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines across the country as of early October? Last year, 48 million flu vaccines were given at pharmacies. As we continue to battle through the pandemic and this year's flu season, it is important to be vigilant when providing multiple vaccines. There have been reports of mix-ups between COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccines. Check out the tips below to avoid these mix-ups in your practice.

Risk Management Techniques to Avoid Vaccine Mix-ups:

  • Label all syringes. While the flu vaccine is available in prefilled syringes, the COVID-19 vaccine must be drawn up in syringes. Label all syringes during the preparation of the doses.
  • Utilize ancillary staff to assist pharmacists by helping with both preparation and immunizing. A declaration amendment to the PREP Act includes qualified pharmacy technicians and interns as “qualified persons” permitted to administer seasonal influenza vaccines to adults age 19 and older. Additionally, the amendment officially identifies the same technicians and interns as authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and pediatric vaccines on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) schedule.
  • Schedule immunization appointments or specific immunization hours to ensure you have enough staff for the process.
  • Utilize different colored bins to store the vaccines as a reminder when verifying doses and prior to administration.
  • Utilize bar code scanning (if your system allows) to verify the proper vaccine.
  • Counsel the patient prior to administering the vaccine to assure you have the correct patient and vaccine.

To learn more about other pharmacy issues and what you can do to protect yourself and your business, visit the Risk Management Center (RMC). The RMC is available at no cost to Pharmacists Mutual commercial insurance members at www.phmic.com. Click “My Accounts” in the upper right corner to access or enroll.