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WHO guidelines for immunization safety

The following are the most recent guidelines on immunization safely from the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EP!) Update (November 1993):
A sterile syringe and a sterile needle must he used for each injection.
Reusable, sterilizable needles and syringes must he cleaned and sterilized after each use according to EPI guidelines [1].
All health facilities providing immunization services should have access to sterilization. Even facilities using single-use syringes will require reusable, sterilizable equipment for backup in case of a stock shortage.
Single-use syringes and needles should only be used when it can he assured that they will be destroyed after use. Auto-destruct syringes that automatically reuse can now he purchased through UNICEF [2].
Used needles and syringes must be placed in a safe, puncture-resistant container, which should be available at all immunization sessions. If no safe container is available and a needle must he recapped, it should be done with one hand to avoid needle-stick injuries.
  1. Expanded Programme on Immunization. Immunization in practice - A guide for health workers who give vaccine, part 2: syringes, needles and sterilization. World Health Organization 1987. WHO Document WHO/EPI/PHW/84/2 Rev. 1_
  2. Expanded Programme on Immunization Cold Chain. UNICEF launches auto-destruct syringes. Technet News -Logistics for Health 1992; 92.2:6.