Clinic Warning: Children Given Defective Vaccines in 2011

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OBERLIN, Ohio -- A warning for parents who got their child vaccinated at a pediatric clinic in Oberlin several years ago: they may have been given a defective vaccine and need to get another vaccination.

"Back in 2011, we were made aware that there were some vaccines given out where there was a refrigeration problem, so there was concern about how effective they were," said David Covell, Lorain County Health Commissioner.

Covell said children who got vaccinated at Kidz First Pediatrics in Oberlin might have been given a defective vaccine.

"The doctor's office alerted their patients, so many of them came to us or other local health departments to get vaccinated. Over the years, there have been a few people who have slipped through the cracks," said Covell.

"We found out about the situation three months after the fact," said Dr. John Sanderson, the pediatrician at Kidz First.

Sanderson says vaccines were ruined due to bad refrigerator temperatures from October 2011 until December 2011.

"The way we take temperatures is twice a day, morning and night. When the person came in and took the temperature, the temperature was too cold. And so they adjusted the thermostat. However, they should have notified me, but I was never told," said Sanderson.

This all came to light three months later when the health department asked to borrow some vaccines.

When they checked the temperature logs, the problem was discovered.

"It was about $60,000 of vaccines that were ruined," said Sanderson.

Since then, Sanderson and his staff worked to contact patients who were given vaccines over that time period.

"It's important to point out here that this was in a series of vaccines. So, children may have gotten one vaccine that wasn't valid, but they also had their other vaccines that were given at different times. So the chance of someone contracting a disease as a result of having the inactivated vaccine is pretty slim," said Sanderson.

In the past couple years, changes have occurred at Kidz First.

One, the employee that made the mistake no longer works there.

Secondly, the old refrigerator was replaced by a state-of-the-art new one.

A majority of the children were receiving vaccinations through a federally-funded program.

Both doctors and the health department say parents should not worry.

"There's a state database that all of departments have access to. So, anyone who has gotten a vaccine from us can look on the state database which vaccine it was and all of them have been marked inactive, the ones that were not valid," said Sanderson.

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