Sharps injury protection


OSHA is making healthcare employers and employees aware of the sale of pre-filled syringes with fixed needles containing Fluvirin. Manufactured by Novartis, it is one of the 2008 seasonal flu vaccines. OSHA says the needles do not have engineered sharps-injury protections. The needles cannot be removed and replaced with products containing sheaths or shields.

Agency standards require needles used by healthcare workers who administer flu vaccine to have built-in antistick protection. While unprotected syringes pose a safety risk to employees, they do not affect the safety or efficacy of the vaccine in patients, says OSHA.

In response to an inquiry by the state safety agency, Novartis says that it replaced the fixed-needle syringes provided to public health departments in the state.

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