Local mothers are being advised they might need an additional dose of the Boostrix immunisation shot, after a fridge that stores routine vaccines at Shoalhaven District Hospital was found to have temperature display inconsistencies.
Up to 300 women who received the Boostrix vaccination for whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria from Shoalhaven Hospital between August 29, 2014 and November 30, 2016 are being contacted by clinical staff.
Women who are unsure of their Boostrix immunisation status or whether this advice is applicable to them can contact the Shoalhaven Vaccination Advice Line on 1800 580 771.
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District executive director of medical services, Dr Vivek Nigam, said he understands mothers may be concerned.
“We want to make sure that mums are properly protected through vaccination for whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria so we are now in the process of identifying and personally contacting up to 300 mothers to individually determine whether or not an additional Boostrix dose is needed to assure of the full efficacy of the immunisation,” he said.
“We want to reassure all involved that it’s not harmful to receive potentially less effective vaccine and there have been no adverse effects or illnesses as a result.”
The issue was identified by Shoalhaven Hospital following the implementation of a new system to double check temperature controls in vaccine fridges.
It found the actual inside temperature was slightly cooler than the temperature displayed on the outside of the fridge.
Dr Nigam said vaccines were delicate biological substances that can become less effective if they get too warm or too cold and the women involved are being directly contacted to determine whether they need to receive another dose.
“Under vaccine storage guidelines, fridge temperature should be monitored twice daily,” he said.
“The newly installed checking device picked up the discrepancy between the internal fridge temperature and the external temperature gauge.
“We have recently moved to implement a secondary checking system that includes a more rigorous process for data logging and all vaccination storage fridges across all hospital sites and community centres are now being audited to ensure compliance.
“We also are liaising with our medical centres and other local GPs to facilitate options for free catch-up vaccinations for women who may have received a less effective vaccine.
“The hospital will also hold a vaccination clinic for three consecutive Thursdays starting this week to administer the additional doses.”
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