Health Canada lifted the suspension on the two vaccines Oct. 31 after a review determined the vaccines remained safe to use.
“Our No. 1 priority is and always will be the health and safety of Ontarians," said Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health. “The flu shot remains the most effective and safe way to ensure you and your family avoid getting sick with the flu this season.”
On Oct. 29, the Sudbury and District Health Unit issued a press release stating flu clinics would continue as scheduled despite the suspension of the vaccines, and that staff spent the weekend tracking down where the health unit had distributed the vaccines.
The Health Canada suspension was purely precautionary and was issued late last week after similar actions in Europe. Health Canada looked at the results of its own testing, conducted a health risk assessment, and reviewed information from its European partners and data submitted by Novartis in making its decision.
None of the information reviewed indicated a safety issue.
“I reassure all Ontarians that every one of our influenza vaccines is safe, and I encourage every Ontarian to take advantage of the free service,” King said.
The annual flu vaccine protects against the strains of the influenza virus that are expected to circulate that year. Ontarians are encouraged to get immunized in the fall. The earlier they get the shot, the earlier they are protected. Ontario's publicly funded flu campaign started on Oct. 22.
For more information about the flu and Ontario's flu campaign, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/publichealth/flu.