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Nurse Giving Flu Shots at New Jersey Company Accused of Reusing Syringes

Oct 12, 2015

A nurse administering flu shots to employees at a New Jersey pharmaceutical company has been accused of reusing syringes.

The state Attorney General's office said 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 the board reached with the nurse said 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 such actions, if proven, demonstrate 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 incidents happened September 30. The nurse, who worked for the contractor TotalWellness, administered flu vaccines to 67 workers, the AP reports. TotalWellness said she was an independent contractor and the company is working with health officials to notify those who received the shots and to handle potential health risks. Though health officials say the risk of infection is small-the nurse reused syringes that contain vaccines, not needles-officials recommend that the 67 people be tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV.

Alan Kohll, the president and founder of TotalWellness, issued a statement, which said, 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." Kohll offered "sincerest apologies" to those affected by "this terrible event," the AP reports.

The AP did not identify the nurse because she has not been charged with a crime. Otsuka Pharmaceutical said in a statement that it was alarmed at the breach of safety protocols. The company said employee health is its top concern.

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