Patients of Dr. William Vitale are being notified that some may need to be re-vaccinated to be properly protected against preventable disease.
Dr. Vitale had his licence suspended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia for improperly administering vaccines. Patients who received infant vaccinations given before 24 months of age, from 1992 to 1994, and from 2003 to present, may need to be re-immunized.
"While it is important to be revaccinated properly, this is not an emergency. We recommend that patients, if needed, have their first re-vaccination appointment by the end of February," said Dr. Robin Taylor, Medical Officer of Health for the Capital District Health Authority. "Immunizations work to protect us against diseases such as measles, mumps, tetanus and whooping cough and are the best way to stay healthy for years to come."
Between 1992 and 1994, and 2003 to present, affected patients were supposed to receive vaccines in separate doses at ages two months, four months, six months, 12 months and 18 months. Instead of administering different vaccines in separate syringes, Dr. Vitale is known to have mixed incompatible vaccines in one syringe and given them as a single shot.
Health officials are encouraging patients to receive a first catch-up shot by the end of February. It may take more than six months to fully immunize a patient against some diseases.
Wherever possible, patients of Dr. Vitale will be notified by mail. However patients, or parents of patients who were younger than 24 months, and received vaccinations from Dr. Vitale in the affected periods, are encouraged to see their family physician or to call 811. Patients can contact family doctors to arrange to be re-vaccinated.
For those in the Halifax area without a family doctor, a vaccination clinic for patients of Dr. Vitale will start Jan. 8. Appointments are required and can be arranged by calling 481-5813.
Any patients of Dr. Vitale who live outside Halifax are encouraged to contact their primary care provider -- family doctor, nurse practitioner, community health nurse, or the local public health office. Public health telephone numbers can be found at http://novascotia.ca/dhw/publichealth/phs-offices.asp .
Patients should not go to emergency rooms and walk-in clinics, because they are not designed to perform routine immunizations.
"Doctors are well-informed on the right way to deliver vaccines, so this is a rare occurrence," said Dr. Frank Atherton, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Department of Health and Wellness. "Most Nova Scotians are properly immunized. However, it is important that affected patients of this doctor take action to ensure that they are protected against these preventable diseases."
Information is also available online at http://novascotia.ca/dhw/immunization-2013/ .