6-year-old B.C. girl exposed to HIV during vaccination

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A six-year-old girl was inadvertently exposed to HIV during a routine vaccination, and will have to undergo rigorous testing to monitor her health.

The child was getting a booster shot at the Fort St. James Health Unit in early October, but flinched during the shot’s administration, reports 250 News. The needle made contact with the nurse’s hand, and blood was exchanged as the needle was drawn back out through the child’s skin.

The unidentified nurse is employed by Northern Health, and is HIV positive. The child’s father learned of the nurse’s medical status after the fact, and says his family is “horrified” about the incident.

“I got a call a week later to come into the clinic and they explained to me that my daughter had been exposed to the HIV virus,” the father told The Huffington Post.

The father, whose identity has been kept out of the media to protect the child’s identity, says he is upset that the nurse was allowed to administer vaccinations in light of her own medical status.

Northern Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Sandra Allison said: “The organization cannot discriminate against people based on their blood borne pathogen status including HIV and Hepatitis B, it is a human right to be able to continue to work.”

The nurse was following all the guidelines for administering vaccinations, and following proper protocol per the College of Registered Nurses in B.C.

“Having been made aware of the event, we deeply regret the event and we apologize for the incident, the unfortunate accident with that child,” said Dr. Allison.

The six-year-old girl will have to undergo testing every couple of weeks for the next eight to ten months to check for HIV infection.

The family has since moved to Prince George.

Featured image: Nurse giving vaccination via Shutterstock

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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