“Well that doesn’t sound right!” (A story about a post-vaccination reaction)

Ms Debra Lee1,2, Ms Lesley Murphy1,3

1Redcliffe Hospital MNHHS, Redcliffe, Australia,

2Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia,

3Australian Catholic University (ACU), Brisbane, Australia


Trigger: Two (2) Anaphylaxis reactions requiring emergency intervention were experienced within a medium sized healthcare worker vaccination program during week 1 (800 vaccines delivered in total at that time.) No serious vaccine reactions recorded previously at the facility.

 Seasonal influenza healthcare worker vaccination is a mainstay of the Infection Control Practitioner (ICP) role.

The accepted rates of severe vaccine reactions to influenza vaccine lists incidence of anaphylaxis as very low (estimated at 1:500 000 doses by the World Health Organisation (WHO)), so most ICP rarely, if ever, experience reactions that require emergency management.

To have one reaction early in the campaign is unusual and unsettling, but to have two is statistically aberrant.

Review of processes uncovered a little-known but documented adverse-reaction from the first case that may inform screening and consent processes in future campaigns. Dysphonia could be a significant sign for immunisation practitioners to be aware of in their pre-vaccination evaluation.

A case report including post reaction experience will promote further caution for any professional administering vaccines.


Deb is currently the ICP for Redcliffe Hospital, she has been working in Infection Prevention for 8 years. Currently studying her Graduate Certificate at Griffith University, she hopes to find some spare time soon to enjoy her newly landscaped garden.

Lesley’s role is Clinical Facilitator in Cancer Care services currently studying Graduate Certificate in Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management through ACU. She is well known to the Infection Management Team, is one of their valued hand hygiene auditors, and colludes regularly with them about invasive devices procedures. Lesley was also the unwitting subject in the reported occurrence.

Recent Comments