Preservatives in multidose vaccine vials do not prevent short-term bacterial contamination. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Outbreaks of group A streptococcal abscesses following diphtheria-tetanus toxoid-pertussis vaccination.
Pediatrics. 1985 Feb ;75(2):299-303. PMID: 3881728
H C Stetler
Two outbreaks of group A streptococcal abscesses following receipt of diphtheria-tetanus toxoid-pertussis (DTP) vaccine from different manufacturers were reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 1982. The clustering of the immunization times of cases, the isolation of the same serotype of Streptococcus from all cases in each outbreak, and the absence of reported abscesses associated with receipt of the same lots of vaccine in other regions of the country, suggest that each outbreak was probably caused by contamination of a single 15-dose vial of vaccine. The preservative thimerosal was present within acceptable limits in unopened vials from the same lot of DTP vaccine in each outbreak. Challenge studies indicate that a strain of Streptococcus from one of the patients can survive up to 15 days in DTP vaccine at 4 degrees C. Contamination of vials during manufacturing would have required survival of streptococci for a minimum of 8 months. Preservatives in multidose vaccine vials do not prevent short-term bacterial contamination. Options to prevent further clusters of streptococcal abscesses are discussed. The only feasible and cost-effective preventive measure now available is careful attention to sterile technique when administering vaccine from multidose vials.