Nigeria Forced to Use Ped-O-Jet Injectors in 1996 Despite Fears of Spreading Hepatitis and AIDS

May 1, 2017

In 1996, during one of the most severe meningococcal meningitis outbreaks in the history of Nigeria, health officials were forced to use Ped-O-Jet injectors due to a shortage of syringes and needles.

The official report of the mass vaccination campaign by Mohammed and colleagues (2000) stated,

“There was a dearth of supplies, particularly of syringes and needles, which made it necessary to use ‘Ped-O-Jet’ injectors (Vernitron, Carlstatdt, NY, USA) for vaccinating most of the people. These are manually operated jet injectors which deliver 0.5 mL of the vaccine into the deltoid muscle of the arm. The nozzle is placed about 1 cm from the skin surface (no contact is allowed), but inaccurate application often results in physical contact and bleeding, raising concerns about transmission of infectious agents such as hepatitis viruses and HIV.”

The jet injectors vaccinated “most” of the 13.4 million Nigerians immunized in the campaign.

Furthermore, the report openly admitted the risk of spreading infectious diseases via the Ped-O-Jet injector to prevent the further spread of meningitis.

“An important problem of mass vaccination in Africa is the inadequate supply of syringes and needles, necessitating the use of ‘Ped-O-Jet’ injectors for vaccination, as happened during this epidemic. We may never know how many infectious agents (including hepatitis B and C viruses and HIV) were transmitted as a result of using these injectors, but clearly their use must be stopped as soon as practicable.”

The fear generated during this mass vaccination campaign caused the World Health Organization to change its official stance advising “against the use of jet injectors under any circumstances” (Fields, 1996). The risk of spreading Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV with the Ped-O-Jet was realized beyond just being biologically plausible. The risk is, in fact, real.

Moreover, the report by Mohammed and colleagues demonstrates a demographic other than veterans of the United States military arguing the risks and hazards of Ped-O-Jets.

2000 Mohammed- A severe epidemic of meningococcal meningitis in Nigeria, 1996

Due to proprietary reasons this study can be accessed here.

References:

  • (Fields, 1996) Fields R. Participation in Meeting: Jet injectors for immunization; current practice and safety; improving designs for the future. WHO/CDC Meeting. Atlanta, GA. 2-3 October, 1996.
  • (Mohammed et al., 2000) Mohammed I, Abdussalam N, Alkali AS, Garbati MA, Ajayi-Obe EK, Audu KA, Usman A, Abdullahi S. A Severe Epidemic of Meningococcal Meningitis in Nigeria, 1996. Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2000 (94): 265-270.

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