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Vaccination-related errors: analysing errors in order to prevent them

Vaccination errors can have severe consequences, depending on the patient, the vaccine and the type of error. Analysis of the circumstances surrounding such errors is a first step towards preventing them.

Not all vaccines are created equal, but some play a major role in disease prevention. Errors can occur at each stage of the vaccination process: prescription, dispensing, preparation, administration, monitoring, registration in the patient’s vaccination or medical record, storage and transport, non-compliance with contraindications, confusion between vaccines or with other drugs, or between vaccine dosages, etc.

Prescrire has published a systematic review, based mainly on quantitative data from the reporting of vaccination-related errors in Europe and elsewhere, and on Prescrire's programme Éviter l'Évitable (Preventing the Preventable). Prescrire makes practical recommendations for avoiding errors, aimed at healthcare professionals and also involving patients and their families. They include recommendations by specialist organisations and a checklist drawn-up by general practitioners in France.

These recommendations include:

  • general measures, such as choosing ready-to-use vaccines;
  • pre-injection checks, such as contraindications, verifying the vaccine with the patient;
  • precautions during and after injection, such as vaccine preparation, patient monitoring, and traceability (vaccination record).

©Prescrire 1 September 2017

"Vaccination-related errors: analysing errors in order to prevent them" Prescrire Int 2017; 26 (185): 207-208. (Pdf, subscribers only).

Download the full review.
Pdf, subscribers only

For more information:
Programme Prescrire
Éviter l'Évitable
(Preventing the
Tirer parti des erreurs
pour mieux soigner
(in French)