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Sailors may have received botched flu vaccine

Nov. 5, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard may have received faulty flu shots, the Navy has confirmed.

A shipment of 1,380 shots traveled from the U.S. to Sasebo, Japan, where they were all given to sailors aboard Bonhomme Ricahard, said 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. William Marks.

Only later did the sailors learn of a potential shipping snafu that may have rendered the vaccines useless.

The shots had shipped alongside refrigerated cargo, Marks explained, and cold can compromise the vaccine’s potency, he said. The shipping problem was brought to the Navy’s attention by personnel with the Defense Logistics Agency.

It’s unknown whether the shots were ruined, but to err on the side of caution, all sailors are receiving another vaccine, Marks said. It should arrive next week.

The first round of shots were administered between late September and early October. Those sailors who received the suspect shots are not in any danger, Marks said.

“There is no medical reason that using the shots would pose any health risk to the crew,” Marks said in an emailed response to questions. “No sailors have reported any unusual illness to medical” personnel.

While the incident is not under investigation, Marks said officials are reviewing vaccination procedures.

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