ACIP Reports 7% of Vaccine VAERS Showed Errors

311,185 total vaccination adverse events reported to VAERS from 2000 to 2013
mom and child

During the February 22, 2017, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) meeting, the Immunization Safety Office, which monitors vaccine safety through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), Vaccine Safety Data Link (VSD), and the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Project, presented an updated report.

There were 311,185 total vaccination adverse events reported to VAERS from 2000 to 2013.

Of which, 20,585 were vaccination errors (7% of total).

According to VAERS, the most commonly reported errors were:

  • inappropriate schedule errors (27%),
  • storage and dispensing errors (23%),
  • wrong vaccine (15%).

Inappropriate schedule errors included wrong age and wrong timing, and storage errors included administering expired vaccine and storing at incorrect temperature.

While not all errors caused health issues, 25% caused adverse health events.

A total of 92% of the errors were reported as non-serious, with injection site pain and redness and fever the most commonly reported symptoms.

Although most of the errors do not appear to pose a risk, they do have an impact on costs, decreased protection, patient and provider inconvenience, and loss of confidence by the patient.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) comprises medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the civilian population of the United States. The recommendations stand as public health guidance for safe use of vaccines and related biological products.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national vaccine safety surveillance program co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

VAERS is a post-marketing safety surveillance program, collecting information about adverse events (possible side effects) that occur after the administration of vaccines licensed for use in the United States.

If you or your child has had an adverse affect to a vaccination you can report the incident to VAERS.

"Underreporting" is one of the main limitations of passive surveillance systems, including VAERS. The term, underreporting refers to the fact that VAERS receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events.

According to the CDC, the degree of underreporting varies widely.