Immunisation errors reported to a vaccine advice service: Intelligence to improve practice

Sarah Lang*, Karen J. Ford, Tessa John, Andrew J. Pollard, Noel D. McCarthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The success of immunisation programmes depends on the quality with which they are administered. The Vaccine Advice for Clinicians Service (VACCSline) is an advice service to support immunisers and promote excellence in immunisation practice, through specialist guidance and local education, covering a catchment population of two million people. All enquiries are recorded onto a database and categorised. Vaccine error is selected when a vaccine has not been prepared or administered according to national recommendations or relevant expert guidance. Method: All enquiries from 2009 to 2011, categorised on the VACCSline database as 'vaccine error' were analysed and subjected to a detailed freetext review. Results: Of 4301 enquiries, 158 (3.7%) concerned vaccine errors. The greatest frequency of errors, 145 (92.9%) concerned immunisations delivered in primary care services; 92% of all errors occurred during either vaccine selection and preparation or history checking and scheduling. Administration of the wrong vaccine was the most frequent error recorded in 33.3% of reports. A shared first letter of the vaccine name was noted to occur in 13 error reports in which the incorrect vaccine was inadvertently administered. Consultations involving pairs of siblings were associated with various errors in seven enquiries. Failure to revaccinate after spillage (seven reports) showed a widespread knowledge gap in this area. Conclusion: Advice line enquiries provide intelligence to alert immunisers to the errors that are commonly reported and may serve to highlight processes that predispose to errors, thus informing immuniser training and updating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalQuality in Primary Care
Volume22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright:
Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Medication errors
  • Quality assurance (healthcare)
  • Vaccination

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