Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dozens Get Wrong H1N1 Vaccine

POSTED: Tuesday, November 24, 2009
UPDATED: 10:14 am EST November 24, 2009
BOSTON -- Several people near Boston who thought they were getting an H1N1 vaccine got a shot for another strain of flu, WCVB-TV reported.

The station said 15 Needham firefighters and several Needham residents were caught in the medical mix-up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now warning health departments about the possible vaccination label confusion.

The label of the seasonal flu vaccination had H1N1 on the label as one of the strains targeted -- but not the current pandemic H1N1 strain.

Paul Buckley, the Needham Fire Department chief, was among those who went Monday to get the actual H1N1 vaccine.

Buckley had been notified by the department that the vaccination he originally got, along with a number of his colleagues, was the seasonal flu vaccination by mistake.

In all, 47 people were affected. The mistake left people confused and concerned.

"Hopefully, we haven't had any issues in the past week where some of the people came in contact with the H1N1 virus or possibly got sick from it believing they were vaccinated when they actually weren't," Buckley said.

The town's health department has been calling everyone to tell them about the mistake. Officials said it was harmless and amounted to getting a booster for the seasonal flu.

Dr. Janice Berns said it is the first mistake like this that she has seen in her 40-year career in public health.

"I think the label doesn't appear to be clear," she said.

Health departments are now being alerted to the possibility of making this mistake.

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