The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force - Adolescent (CITF-A) has apologised after a 12-year-old was mistakenly injected with an empty syringe at the Universiti Malaya vaccination centre (PPV UM) recently.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said an initial investigation found the incident took place on Thursday and clarified the teenager was immediately given a new dosage after the health worker involved realised her mistake.
“CITF-A regretted the incident and would like to apologise to the parents and the teenager.
“This incident is described as an on-duty mistake or human error,” Noor Azmi said in a statement this morning.
This comes after a video purportedly showing the incident went viral on social media yesterday.
Noor Azmi explained the health worker mistook an unused empty syringe for a filled syringe from the same table.
“The health worker had followed the procedure to show the vaccine was taken out from the bottle into the syringe and showed the filled syringe to the teenager’s mother.
“After showing the filled syringe, the worker placed it down on the table to conduct disinfection on the teenager’s arm before the injection.
“However, she then mistook an empty syringe and injected the teenager,” he explained.
He said the health worker realised her mistake after the process and informed the on-duty medical officers at the PPV, upon which they immediately met with the teenager’s parents.
“After an explanation was given, the parents consented for the teenager to be given another vaccine injection on the different arm using the reduced dosage procedure.
A reduced dosage procedure is a clinical guideline that recommends vaccination on the different arm if the first dose was deemed insufficient and a re-dosing was needed.
Noor Azmi added that the health worker has been warned to be more careful and follow the outlined procedure.
He said internal procedures have also been improved to ensure no other syringe is placed on the same table during the injection process in order to avoid the same mistake again.
There had been several empty syringes incidents since the mass Covid-19 immunisation programme started.
Such incidents, however, are extremely rare and Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has previously assured the public that cases are usually linked with negligence and not on purpose.
As a measure to increase confidence, the public is allowed to record their vaccination process, and health workers were instructed to show the syringes to recipients before and after jabs.