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16 more coronavirus/flu shot mix ups reported

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Monday, we first introduced you to the Price Family.

Two adults and two young children that were mistakenly given the COVID-19 vaccine when going in for their flu shots.

The Institute for Safe Medicine Practices collects data from consumers to report mix-up incidents and promote safe medication practice.

Officials there say their data shows 16 people in the last month that have reported getting the COVID vaccine when they went in for a flu shot.

ISMP officials say there’s no excuse for these mix-ups, but we can help prevent them.

Matthew Grissinger is the director of error reporting programs at ISMP, and has been a pharmacist for over 30 years. He says in the grand scheme of things getting a mix up in vaccination is rare, but that 16 reports in the last month is concerning.

“16 cases is not a lot, but for us to have 16 individuals reach out to us to tell us something went wrong, and they’re all different things that went wrong, that’s kind of substantial,” he said.

Grissinger says pharmacists have a lot on their plates, especially with the pandemic. He says to get involved when getting vaccinated, help double check.

“Outpatient pharmacies especially are already processing lots of prescriptions a day,” said Grissinger. “Now on top of that, they’ve already been doing flu shots in the past, and on top of that, all of the COVID vaccinations, and they’re probably not getting any increased staffing with that.”

Grissinger says as a pharmacist himself, he appreciates when people ask questions.

“It’s okay to ask to check the vial that it came from, check the syringe or the label, to help act as a double check list,” said Grissinger. “So you’re filling in for me, but I’m going to double check you. You’re helping me as a pharmacist catch mistakes because it’s going to happen.”

But Grissinger says this shouldn’t deter us from getting any vaccine. He says It’s not a vaccine problem, it’s a human error problem.

“These errors that are happening are not because of bad effects of the vaccine, it’s because of human error and break downs that happen when filling prescriptions,” he said.

ISMP officials say with the continued push for COVID-19 vaccination and now flu season, the ability to administer both shots in one visit could be a contributing factor to the mix ups.

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