Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Novartis influenza vaccine suspension lifted


Oct. 31, 2012

Ministry of Health
Office of the Provincial Health Officer

Novartis influenza vaccine suspension lifted

VICTORIA - Health Canada has announced that it has lifted the temporary precautionary suspension on all Novartis influenza vaccine products in Canada.

After extensive consultation with Novartis, and public health and regulatory officials in Italy and Switzerland, as well as its own product assessments, Health Canada has determined that there are no safety concerns with any Novartis vaccine products in Canada or British Columbia.

With this release for use, all Fluad and Agriflu products currently distributed across health authorities in B.C. will be put back into use in public influenza vaccine campaigns. That campaign is now underway throughout the province. Novartis products represent about 30 per cent of the provincial vaccine supply.

Both Fluad and Agriflu, influenza vaccines manufactured in Italy by Novartis, had been pulled from vaccine campaigns in Canada and some European countries following reports of clumping noted in a specific vaccine batch; that batch was not released for use. Similar clumping has not been discovered in any vaccine distributed in Canada. The Canadian suspension was a purely precautionary measure. All vaccine products received in Canada have passed Health Canada safety inspections.

Influenza can be a serious illness. Each year thousands of Canadians die from its complications - most of them seniors or those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions. The flu vaccine is safe for use and is the best way to prevent illness from the virus.

British Columbians can get vaccinated at a variety of locations - from dedicated flu clinics, to public health units, family physicians and pharmacists. To find a flu clinic near you, visit the flu clinic locator at: www.immunizebc.ca


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