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Monday, April 9, 2012


So, I've been dealing with a case of shingles. Anyone not familiar with this can Google it. I strongly believe that administering the shingles vaccine is what led to this. I am immune compromised due to the meds I take for rheumatoid arthritis (Remicade, Imuran, prednisone) and within 6 weeks of starting to administer the shingles vaccine I end up with shingles. I've been on these medications for 3 years now with no adverse events and suddenly I have shingles. It's too coincidental for me to believe it's cause was random. In case your not familiar with shingles in an immune compromised patient, the disease can disseminate causing wide spread consequences. The pain doesn't just stay localized to the rash area, but spreads along all nerve roots on that side of the body. Fun!
My big concern with this happening it that we spend alot of time learning safety measures for administering the vaccine to patients, but very little, if any, time on safety measures for those doing the administering. I have staff members who have never had chicken pox or the vaccine. Are they at risk? We toss the vaccine vial in the trash when we're through with it, but it still contains live virus. How safe is this? What exactly are the risks to the healthcare professional who handles live virus vaccines? Our employers aren't going to address this topic because all they want is for us to sell, sell, sell these vaccines. Is this a legitimate workers' comp claim? Are they going to compensate me for the hearing loss I now have?  Should I have known better than to administer this vaccine with my current health issues? Was this really the cause of my shingles? It's not like I experienced a needle-stick, but the event is too coincidental for me to believe otherwise. I am contacting the CDC to see if there is some way to report this kind of event. We use VAERS to report adverse events that patient experience, but I can't find any info on the web site on adverse events experienced by the healthcare professionals. Why is this subject not even addressed by the CDC? We talk about needle-stick injury all the time, but never about virus exposure injury. This subject needs to be addressed. I'm sure I'm not the first healthcare professional to become ill after exposure to a live virus vaccine. Any thoughts on this issue?