These two vaccines are produced by the pharmaceutical company Novartis. They comprise 18 per cent of the province’s influenza vaccine supply.
“We got to work right away on Friday night, the moment we were informed by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health of the vaccine suspension,” said Sudbury and district medical officer of health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, in a press release.
“We spent the weekend tracking down where we had distributed these vaccines. We sent out fax alerts, phoned any health care or pharmacy offices open on the weekend, and are completing our phone calls as offices open on Monday morning.”
Currently there is no recommendation that Ontarians who have already been immunized should be “re-immunized.” Also, no serious or unexpected adverse effects have been reported.
The influenza vaccines Vaxigrip and Fluviral are not affected by this decision. On Oct. 28, the health unit was resupplied by the Ontario Government Pharmacy with almost 5,000 doses of these approved vaccines to replace its Agriflu and Fluad supplies.
During the temporary suspension, only these products will be used in the health unit's flu clinics and distributed to area health-care providers for administration.
“There is no anticipated disruption of our clinics due to this recall,” Sutcliffe said.
“Flu prevention is key to good health and the annual immunization program is a key aspect of flu prevention. Monday is business as usual as far as our influenza prevention program is concerned.”
For information on Health Canada’s suspension of Novartis products, visit www.hc-sc.gc.ca. For information regarding local flu in clinics, visit www.sdhu.com.