Serious Concern Over Vaccine Quality

June 6, 2012

As parents, we depend on the vaccines doctors give to our children to protect them against illness and disease, but a new report indicates some serious concerns with the country’s vaccine supply.  A recent inspection of health providers who offer free vaccinations for children of low income families has the Inspector General’s Office shuddering over how vaccines are being stored and whether it might impact their effectiveness. Click here to watch an exclusive ABC News report on the findings.

Doctors Get Chilly Inspection Report on Vaccine Storage

The Inspector General’s Office found 76% of providers were storing vaccinations at improper temperatures, potentially rendering the medication ineffective. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services found a number of providers storing expired vaccines.Inspectors visited the offices of 45 providers in five states who offered free immunizations as part of the government’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. In 2010, an estimated 40 million children in the US received the VFC vaccine, at a cost of approximately $3.6 billion to taxpayers.

Even though this report focused on the VFC program, it’s a brisk warning to all medical providers.  Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center says, “The temperature has to be monitored throughout the entire time, from the time it leaves the manufacturer to the time it spends in transit to the time it’s delivered to the clinic and it’s used in the clinic.”

As a result of the findings, the Inspector General’s Office is calling for the CDC to take steps to ensure that all of the providers who participate in the VFC program follow proper storage procedures.

Parents can ask their own pediatricians about these vaccine storage concerns to make sure the issue is being addressed.  ABC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser says he has major concerns about the vaccine report and its implication for already existing parent concerns about vaccines.