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Vaccination safety

Most of our fish vaccines contain formalin-inactivated bacterial and/or viral antigens, as well as oil adjuvants. The injection dose varies from 0.025 to 0.1ml depending on the vaccine. In some cases, more than one vaccine may be injected simultaneously in order to deliver multiple antigens. The injection is made into the abdominal cavity of the fish. This is done either manually or by machine.

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The use oil adjuvants in fish vaccines

Adjuvants, such as aluminum salts and mineral oil, are sometimes added to vaccines in order to enhance the immune response. Liquid paraffin is the most commonly used mineral oil in veterinary vaccines.

Most mineral oils are considered tissue irritants. This means that even small amounts can cause significant harm and inflammation when injected into human tissue. It is therefore important that anyone who believes that they may have accidentally injected themselves is taken to hospital immediately.

What are the symptoms?

  • If a needle scrapes the skin and no vaccine is injected, only local inflammation may occur.
  • If any vaccine is injected into the finger, the injection site must be treated by a surgeon. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, and discoloration of the skin. Occasionally, swelling may develop further up the arm; often accompanied by nausea, listlessness and a fever. If not treated, it can lead to necrosis and subsequent amputation.
  • There is a theoretical risk of an allergic reaction, such as anaphylactic shock, following a self-injection. Symptoms affecting the respiratory and circulatory systems may occur almost instantly. No such reaction has however been reported in the last 30 years, so the likelihood of an anaphylactic shock after self-injection is considered to be small.

How to treat accidental self-injection?

Mineral oils in the fish vaccines contain powerful tissue toxins. We advise that injuries should be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours. Surgical interventions – such as incision and irrigation – might be required.

Antibiotics and painkillers are insufficient as exclusive treatments. Antibiotics may be used in cases of bacterial infection. Anti-inflammatory pain killers can be useful in reducing pain and inflammation. An anti-tetanus injection is normally not required.

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Advice in the event of accidental self-injection

If a needle that has been in contact with fish vaccine has penetrated your skin, you must seek medical assistance immediately – even if you believe that little or no vaccine has been injected.

Advice in the event of self-injection Read More