6 COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Errors

UAL Covid Labels

6 COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Errors

The COVID-19 vaccine differs significantly from previous vaccines. Plus, the magnitude of the rollout presents additional challenges that increase the potential for errors. But, the last few months have identified workflow gaps that are preventable and can be corrected before they become a problem.

1) Vaccination Site Selection

The diversity of vaccination sites required to rollout vaccines to hundreds of millions of Americans rarely contain the safety precautions built into locations like healthcare facilities. Choosing spacious facilities that allow for social distancing and following infection prevention steps are vital to patient and staff safety.

2) Vaccinator Education

With COVID-19 vaccinations, it’s all hands on deck. Although states differ, many employ a range of healthcare professionals, including some that are trained and deputized by states specifically for the current health emergency. The diversity of healthcare workers and their unfamiliarity with protocols increase the need for education. Administrators found these points were especially important to cover:

  • Storage and temperature requirements
  • Preparing for allergic reactions
  • Vaccine dilution steps
  • Timing and scheduling of the second dose

And, they found using guideposts like these minimized issues:

  • Labeling cartons with instructions so it’s clear to the staff to refrigerate or freeze vaccines.
  • Screening for allergic reactions before and after the vaccine.
  • Implementing a double-check process to help avoid errors including adding too much or too little diluent and only to the Pfizer vaccine
  • Combining electronic and paper appointment reminders to improve awareness and compliance with follow-up appointments.
  • Using warning labels or some other form of communication to alert administrators about current allergies. Making sure emergency equipment and medications such as Epinephrine and Diphenhydramine are readily available

3) Syringe Preparations

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Vaccination locations found preparing syringes on site actually increased potential errors. To minimize confusion, dispense prefilled, labeled syringes of the vaccine. Use a flag or label that wraps easily around the small cylinder to mark each one with the manufacturer, lot number and more. In addition, to help prevent waste, verify the number of vaccines you need each day and prefill only that amount.

4) Separate Vaccine Types

To avoid mix-ups, segregate the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. When receiving a shipment from the manufacturer that needs to maintain sub-zero temperatures, separate units are required. Once doses are thawed, it's best to move them to different refrigerators. If multiple refrigerators aren’t available, use separate shelves.

5) Identify Monoclonal Antibodies Like Regeneron

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A clinic in West Virginia inadvertently administered Regeneron instead of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Although this didn’t cause any patient harm, it’s important to identify and differentiate each antibody from other medications. Affixing brightly colored labels that include the product name, strength, and a scannable barcode provides a visual distinction and helps to verify product selection prior to preparation.

6) Avoid Power Loss To Refrigerators

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Unfortunately, numerous vaccine doses have spoiled due to a power loss, not from an electrical outage, but from inadvertently unplugging the refrigerator. A Do Not Unplug label attached to the cord will help eliminate this problem.

United Ad Label COVID-19 Vaccination Workflows

With thousands of locations administering hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccines, errors are bound to occur. But, taking these and other precautions can help eliminate COVID-19 vaccine administration errors. UAL supplies healthcare labels that assist healthcare providers including COVID-19 vaccine labels.