December 15, 2009 in City, Nation/World

Some recalled swine flu doses went to Spokane

Official: No safety issues with vaccines for young children
By The Spokesman-Review
 

A swine flu vaccine for young children recalled Tuesday included about 200 doses that were shipped to two Spokane health care providers.

There are no safety issues with the vaccines, noted State Health Secretary Mary Selecky. Rather, the vaccines were not as potent as they should have been.

Nevertheless, they still should protect children from H1N1 influenza, also called swine flu, health officials say.

Dr. Joel McCullough, health officer of Spokane County, declined to name the local providers. He said the vaccines were shipped last month in shot form and were likely given to children.

Parents should not worry, he said; “this is not a safety recall.”

The voluntary recall by Sanofi Pasteur, a division of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis Group, involved about 800,000 pre-filled syringes for children ages 6 months to 35 months.

The company is still trying to figure out why the potency dropped in those doses. The vaccines passed strength tests when they were shipped last month. But tests last week revealed a 12 percent drop in potency.

The Associated Press reported experts have a theory that the problem is specific to the children’s pre-filled syringes. 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.

About 5,100 doses of the recalled vaccine were shipped to Washington state. That’s a fraction of the 1.6 million doses of all swine flu vaccines that were delivered to communities across Washington during the past several weeks.

Young children are supposed to get two doses of swine flu vaccine about a month apart.


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