The New Jersey Department of Health says a nurse who administered flu shots to employees at a New Jersey pharmaceutical company has been accused of reusing single-use syringes.
The state Attorney General's office reports that the nurse's license has been temporarily suspended and she is not allowed to practice pending a ruling from the state's board of nursing, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
The consent order reached with the nurse says she "administered an inadequate amount of the flu vaccine" to patients at Otsuka Pharmaceutical in West Windsor, using two single-use syringes. The board said if this is confirmed, it demonstrates gross negligence, malpractice, or incompetence. "Such conduct evidences that (the nurse) is a clear and imminent danger to the public warranting a temporary suspension of her license to practice nursing in the state," the order states, according to the AP.
The flu shots were given on September 30. The nurse, who worked for TotalWellness, administered flu vaccines to 67 workers at Otsuka, the AP reports. TotalWellness said the nurse was an independent contractor. The company is working to handle health risks and is notifying the employees who received the shots of the nurse’s actions. Though health officials say the individuals’ risk of infection is small—the syringes that contain the vaccine were reused, not needles—officials recommend that the 67 people be tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV.
Alan Kohll, who is president and founder of TotalWellness, issued a statement, which read, in part, "We take full responsibility for this incident and are working diligently with the New Jersey Department of Health to resolve this matter as swiftly as possible," the AP reports. Kohll offered "sincerest apologies" to those affected by "this terrible event."
The nurse was not publicly identified because she has not been charged with a crime, the AP says. A statement from Otsuka Pharmaceutical said that the company was alarmed at the safety lapse. The company said employee health is its top concern.