Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Swine flu shots recalled

Hundreds of thousands of swine flu shots for children have been recalled because tests indicate the vaccine doses lost some strength. The shots, made by Sanofi Pasteur, were distributed across the country last month and most have already been used, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 800,000 pre-filled syringes that were recalled are for young children, ages 6 months to nearly 3 years. Dr. Anne Schuchat, a CDC flu expert, stressed that parents don't need to do anything or to worry if their child got one — or even two — of the recalled shots. The vaccine is safe and effective, she said. Health officials don't think children need to get vaccinated again, even if they got two doses from the recalled lots. The issue is the vaccine's strength.

Tests done before the shots were shipped showed that the vaccines were strong enough. But tests done weeks later indicated the strength had fallen slightly below required levels. Why the potency dropped isn't clear. Possibly, for some reason, the antigen — the key vaccine ingredient — may be sticking to the walls of those syringes, said Dr. Jesse Goodman, the FDA's deputy commissioner for science and public health. Another manufacturer, Novartis, in February recalled five lots of seasonal flu vaccine packed in pre-filled syringes under similar circumstances.

Bonnie - this sounds very fishy. If the doses had diminished strength, why shouldn't those children be vaccinated again?

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