The aim of this study was to assess the quality of storage of tetanus vaccine in accident and emergency (A&E) departments and also of the awareness of Department of Health guidelines. A postal questionnaire was sent to 50 randomly selected major A&E departments in the British Isles, enquiring about awareness of Department of Health guidelines (Department of Health, 1990). Forty (80%) A&E departments responded. Only 14 were aware of the Department of Health guidelines and in only 18 was there a member of staff taking responsibility for vaccine storage. The study found that safe storage of vaccine, and therefore guarantee of efficacy, is not occurring in the majority of A&E departments. Unnoticed failure of refrigerators could be exposing patients to the risk of tetanus infection.
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