Doctors in UK Warned After a Catalogue of Vaccine Mix-Ups

Doctors across the UK have come under immense criticism after a survey revealed a catalogue of vaccine blunders. The Medical Defence Unit (MDU), who defends doctors accused of medical malpractice, carried out the survey.  The results revealed that family doctors had been involved in vaccination blunders affecting 98 children and 10 adults over the last five years. These involved patients being given the wrong vaccine, the wrong dose of vaccine or were vaccinated without consent.

Amazingly, these errors included babies being administered the MMR shot seven months’ before they should have been. In some instances children were given a meningitis shot when they should have been given the MMR.

Dawn Boyall speaking on behalf of the MDU had this to say to the Guardian 21st February 2011:

“In most of the cases the child or adult had to be monitored for any ill-effects from the wrong vaccine, wrong dose and so on. Obviously this will have caused some anxiety and inconvenience for the patients and parents concerned.”

Surprisingly she did not seem too concerned though because she continued by adding:

“Adverse reactions to the vaccination occurred in only four cases, mostly adults, including an asthmatic who felt poorly after getting a flu jab. But the patient had to be reimmunised with the right vaccine in the 56 cases involving a wrong drug, which caused them more discomfort.” (…)

The Department of Health when asked about the errors said that the National Health Service, while doing an excellent job in delivering the seasonal flu jabs, should make fewer mistakes.

Surely mistakes like this should not happen at all! This is gross medical negligence on the part of medical practitioners. Giving a young child the wrong vaccine is potentially extremely dangerous. So just how rare are these sorts of errors? Not very, it seems, as a search on Google soon revealed many more.

In March 2010 the Telegraph reported that a newborn baby was given an overdose of the BCG vaccine. The boy, who was born on February 5, was injected with 0.5mg of the BCG vaccine – 10 times the usual 0.05mg dose. A statement from law firm Irwin Mitchell at the time said that the boy was treated with help from the poisons agency and an expert in immunology at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.(…)

It is not only in the UK that these errors are happening. In January 2010 staff at one USA school went to the school nurse fully expecting to receive the shot for swine flu and instead they received a vaccine of insulin. It was reported that the staff seem to have suffered no long-term damage from mistakenly receiving the insulin injections. Read fully story in ABC News report (…)

In March 2010 it transpired that a quantity of expired vaccines for measles was given to children in one area of Pakistan leaving 33 children with adverse reactions The Daily Times for Pakistan (…) say that the health department staff administered an expired vaccine to children during the anti-measles campaign and at least 33 children experienced serious reactions such as fainting diarrhoea and skin diseases.

In fact mothers have been so upset by their experiences that they have been forced to turn to internet chat forums for support. On the Baby Gaga forum ( one mother from the USA wrote:

“Ok, I don’t know if this has ever happened to anyone on here, but yesterday, my SIL took my nephew (two) and my niece (8 1/2 months) to the Dr to get their shots and checkups. Well, the nurse drew up all the shots and took them into the room on one tray (1st mistake) then gave my nephew the DTAP vaccine, the HiB and MCV (meningitis) He was SUPPOSED to be getting the MCV and Hep A, but never actually got the Hep A. They gave him two vaccines that he has already had, that were supposed to be given to his sister.”

Apparently the doctor in this case said it was NO BIG DEAL!!

Another parent on the same forum said:

“The mom I know who it happened to had two children, a newborn and a toddler. The toddler was supposed to get the MMR, but they gave it to the newborn instead. The nurse was fired on the spot.”

On another USA forum entitled (…) I found these disturbing words,

“I brought my 4 month old son in to the pediatrician yesterday for vaccinations. We are following Dr. Sear’s alternate schedule, monthly visits with fewer shots at each visit so he’s not loaded up too much at once. He was to receive rotavirus and DTAP only- this is what I signed for and what was printed on the record that they gave me when we checked out.

WELL, I get home and there is a message on the machine to call the office. The nurse tells me she accidentally drew up and gave him Prevnar(pneumococcal vaccine) instead of the DTAP. He just received Prevnar about 5 weeks ago. So he was double dosed on one vaccine, and is now behind on DTAP She told me we would “catch up” on the shots the next time I bring him in.”

Parents trust their G.P. to get it right. Playing catch up on vaccines is in my opinion a very dangerous game to play. Woman’s Health Educater ( and broadcast journalist Leslie Carol Botha who is also Vice-President of Public Relations of S.A.N.E. VAX Inc ( an international organization promoting safe, affordable, necessary and effective vaccines was deeply disturbed by the reported vaccine errors and commented:

“I am frankly appalled at the number of vaccination administration errors that are being uncovered around the world. Not only are we questioning the safety of the required immunizations, but now we are beginning to realize that the professionals administering the vaccine may be adding to the growing number of reports of adverse reactions. The health of the child should be paramount when administering vaccinations. Do we have to wait until a child dies as a result of a medical oversight before these kinds of gross errors are taken seriously?”

I agree with Ms Botha. The only way to stop this kind of serious medical negligence from occurring is for doctors and nurses to be fired on the spot. Too many doctors are getting away with making mistakes when it comes to vaccines. It is just not good enough to brush these errors as ‘one of those things’. It is not just ‘one of those things’ when a child under a doctors supervision is given the wrong vaccine. It is his responsibly to employ competent nurses, if he fails to do this then he should be reported to his governing body for serious professional misconduct. There is no other career where professionals can get away with such grave errors. How difficult is it to read a patients medical notes and check that you are giving the right baby the right vaccine at the correct dosage?

About the author

Christina England, BA Hons