Some Bibb students given unnecessary extra flu vaccination

pramati@macon.comNovember 26, 2012 

Bibb County health officials said Monday that 383 elementary school students received an unnecessary extra flu vaccination over the past several weeks.

Dr. David Harvey, director of the North Central Health District, said the state is involved in an investigation to determine why the extra vaccinations were given.

Harvey said it’s unlikely the second flu shot will cause any problems for the students who received them, but the district is sending notes to parents Tuesday to explain the situation. Harvey said the 383 students in attended all of the elementary schools in Bibb County.

“The records were misinterpreted, and some of the students got an unnecessary dose,” he said. “But we don’t know of any adverse effects (of the extra shot).”

Harvey said the district vaccinated about 3,200 students at Bibb elementary schools. Part of the confusion may have originated from the state’s guidelines about which students were supposed to have two flu vaccinations over the past two years. Of the 3,200 Bibb County students who received flu vaccinations at their schools this year, about 1,300 of them were given the second vaccination to meet that guideline.

Of the 1,300 students, more than 900 received their second vaccination correctly, but the remaining 383 students received a third vaccination in the two-year period.

Harvey said the district sends home permission slips and other information to parents, then processes the information it receives from parents to match against state vaccination records.

If there’s a question about whether a child is currently up to date on vaccinations, the district’s policy is to give the child the vaccination in question.

Harvey said the district found out about the issue when a parent informed officials that a child received an extra vaccination unnecessarily.

“That got us to looking (into the other vaccinations),” Harvey said. “We’re looking into who did it, who is responsible. But the danger to the children is very minimal.”

Harvey said the district already is working on a plan to mitigate any similar future problems.

“There are a lot of lessons to be learned here,” he said. “We are looking to not have this happen again. We’re putting together a corrective action plan. We’re thankful, because we don’t feel there will be any adverse reactions or untoward symptoms. We’ve proven that we do really well in preventing kids from missing school.”

Parents with questions about the flu vaccines can call the health district at (478) 749-0114.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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