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900 Ocean County kids may need new vaccinations because of screwup

Sigh at Southern Ocean Pediatrics & Family Medicine
Sigh at Southern Ocean Pediatrics & Family Medicine (Micromedia Publications)

TRENTON — About 900 children in Ocean County may have to be revaccinated because their vaccines were not refrigerated properly.

The Department of Health said that letters are going out to families whose children were vaccinated at Southern Ocean Pediatrics and Family Medicine in Manahawkin, which is the medical office of Dr. Michael Bleiman, between November 2014 and July 28, 2016. The vaccines were for measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis A & B, rotavirus, DTaP/Tdap, Hib, pneumococcal, polio, meningococcal and HPV.

The shots were dispensed under the Vaccines for Children program, a federally funded, state-operated program that provides 1.6 million free or low-cost vaccines to eligible low-income children at more than 1,000 medical offices around the state each year.

The shots given are not harmful to children but may be less effective, according to the department, and the children may be less protected.

The refrigeration problem was discovered in July during a routine compliance visit. The state also filed a complaint alleging gross negligence, professional misconduct and other violations.

The department said that parents or guardians of uninsured children can contact federally qualified health centers in Ocean County, including the Center for Health Education, Medicine & Dentistry in Lakewood and Ocean Health Initiatives in Lakewood.

Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, which is part of Hackensack Meridian Health, will also be setting up a hotline to help families evaluate the need for revaccination.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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