Providers May Incorrectly Administer Meningitis Vaccine

More than 100 patients mistakenly given vaccine subcutaneously

MONDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- About 100 patients in seven states were mistakenly given subcutaneous administration of the new meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV-4, Menactra) in 2005 as opposed to the appropriate intramuscular injections, according to a report in the Sept. 22 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. However, the patients' immunity levels were considered sufficient not to require revaccination.

Menactra, made by Sanofi Pasteur of Swiftwater, Pa., is licensed only for intramuscular injection. Kristin Uhde, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and fellow-investigators found that the errors probably occurred because the older meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV-4, Menomune) was licensed in 1978 for subcutaneous injection.

The researchers found that 12 of 54 patients whom providers questioned about any ill-effects reported relatively minor problems, such as rash, swelling, and in one case a day's fever. A comparison of serum samples from 38 subcutaneous vaccinees with serology data on 372 matched participants in pre-licensing trials of the vaccine showed that both groups had protective titers, the report indicates.

"CDC cautions health-care providers to be aware that the licensed route of vaccine administration can vary among similar vaccines," the authors write.

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