Varivax (varicella vaccine) will feature two-dimensional (2D) barcoding on all vials this quarter. This is the first Merck product to display the new 2D barcodes, which include product information, lot number and expiration date. Other Merck vaccines will be barcoded by the end of the year.

The goal of 2D barcoding is to reduce medical errors and help health care professionals document vaccine information in patient records more accurately.

Merck joins GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur, which already have committed to 2D barcoding on all vaccine products. This means the vast majority of pediatric vaccine in the United States will be 2D barcoded by the end of the year.

The effort to implement 2D barcodes on vaccine products is the brainchild of Edward N. Zissman, M.D., FAAP, and Kathleen K. Cain, M.D., FAAP. They wondered how to save pediatricians time and improve safety while vaccinating and saw barcoding as the answer....

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