OCEAN COUNTY – The state Department of Health has mailed letters, established a hotline and created a frequently-asked-questions webpage to assist families who may need to revaccinate their children, after a Manahawkin doctor allegedly stored vaccines at improper temperatures.
The January 9 complaint, through the state Department of Consumer Affairs – Attorney General’s Office, alleges Dr. Michael Bleiman’s Southern Ocean Pediatrics and Family Medicine office was part of a free or low-cost vaccine program that failed to keep the vaccines refrigerated within the range of acceptable temperatures.
According to a statement by the state Department of Health, approximately 900 children should be revaccinated. The vaccines were not harmful, but could have lost efficacy, due to the alleged improper refrigeration, officials said.
The children received the vaccinations through the free to low-cost vaccination program, Vaccines for Children, as far back as 2014, the state Attorney General’s office states.
Bleiman’s pediatric office, which is inside Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, had no comment when reached by phone January 10.
The newly distributed letters and website emphasize that the vaccines were not harmful, just possibly not effective, and families should seek out assistance to determine if revaccination is necessary.
NJ Health Hotline has been set up for parents, guardians and other family members who have questions about whether their children should be evaluated for re-vaccination, at 866-448-2432.
The FAQ is available at nj.gov/health/cd/vpdp/documents/vfc_faqs.pdf.
The AG complaint, filed January 9 through the State Board of Medical Examiners, alleges gross negligence, professional misconduct and other violations by Dr. Bleiman, in regard to the offices temperature logs, use of quarantined vaccines and other record-keeping issues through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.
For details on the complaint the state has lodged against the doctor’s office, see our previous story.