Mothers who gave birth at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) between August 2013 and January 2015 are urged to contact hospital authorities after a faulty fridge may have possibly tainted vaccines delivered to patients.
An investigation launched after discovering the faulty equipment, has found vaccines may possibly have been housed in temperatures outside the optimal range.
Deborah Willcox, RPA’s General Manager, said there is no risk posed by the vaccines, however she said they may not be effective and should be readministered ASAP.
“Due to an issue with the refrigerator’s thermostat, the vaccines may have been exposed to temperatures just outside what would be the acceptable, optimal temperature ranges for these types of medications and we cannot absolutely guarantee their effectiveness,” Ms Willcox said
“It’s very important that I state that there is no risk associated with receiving potentially less effective vaccines, however these vaccines may not provide adequate protection against some illnesses.”
The faulty fridge in question only served ward 8 East, so only babies who were born in that ward are affected. As a precaution, the hospital is now contacting all mothers from Ward 8 East during the specified period to have the vaccines readministered.
A clinic has been set up at Croydon Community Health Centre where patients will receive the vaccines free of charge. For those patients preferring to see their local GP, the hospital will arrange for mothers to be reimbursed for any costs.
Ms Willcox was quick to apologise for the incident and reassure the public that the hospital was still one of the premier medical institutions in the city.
“On behalf of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital I would like to sincerely apologise for any concern this incident may have caused or may cause,” she said. “We are taking a very precautionary approach and that is because mothers and babies are incredibly important to us.”
An investigation has been ordered by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner to ensure it wasn’t repeated. “A full investigation is underway to guarantee all public hospitals are compliant with medication storage protocols. I’m advised measures will be introduced at RPA Hospital to ensure this incident does not happen again,” she said.
“I have asked the NSW Ministry of Health to work with Local Health Districts across the state to ensure these errors are not occurring at other public hospitals.”
A clinical advisory line has been established and concerned patients can call 1800 300 243 for further information.