Dozens of co-workers are now being tested for HIV and hepatitis after a nurse reused a syringe to give 67 flu shots, according to a Daily Mail report, which added that disciplinary action against the nurse is still pending.
Employees at Otsuka Pharmaceutical received the vaccination at their offices in Princeton, New Jersey on September 30, and they have now been warned they could possibly have been exposed to “infected blood,” the report stated, adding that any test results for HIV or hepatitis may take months.
In a letter to an Otsuka employee quoted in a related NBC Philadelphia report, the NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) stated that during the vaccination process, “The needles were changed between each patient, but the syringe was reused multiple times.”
Free blood tests for the affected employees were organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the Health Department and TotalWellness, the health care provider who initially provided the vaccinations, the Daily Mail claimed. Patients must then be retested in four to six months before they can be given a clean bill of health.
“Syringe reuse may have exposed you to infected blood. At this time, NJDOH is not aware of any disease transmission, but you may be at risk for developing an infection as a result of this improper practice,” the Department of Health was quoted by NBC.
A statement from TotalWellness said the company was “dedicated to ensuring all participants receive any and all appropriate screenings, care and counseling until this matter is resolved,” according to the Daily Mail, while one Otsuka Pharmaceutical employee told NBC that having to wait so long for the blood test results was giving her “incredible anxiety.”