December 16, 2009 in City

H1N1 recall includes Spokane

Doses likely went to kids, county health official says
By The Spokesman-Review
 

On the Web: Find a complete look at swine flu, including timely news updates, links, previous coverage and a downloadable graphic about prevention and treatment, at spokesman.com/sections/swineflu.

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, State Health Secretary Mary Selecky said. Rather, the vaccines were less potent than they should have been.

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

Dr. Joel McCullough, Spokane County health officer, declined to name the local providers. He said the vaccines were shipped last month in shot form and probably 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 prefilled syringes for children ages 6 months to 35 months.

The company is still trying to determine 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 that experts are theorizing that the problem is specific to the children’s prefilled syringes. The antigen – the key vaccine ingredient – may be sticking to the walls of those syringes, said Dr. Jesse Goodman, the Food and Drug Administration’s deputy commissioner for science and public health.

Another manufacturer, Novartis, in February recalled five lots of seasonal flu vaccine packed in prefilled syringes under similar circumstances.

About 5,100 doses of the recalled vaccine were shipped to Washington. That’s a fraction of the 1.6 million doses of all swine flu vaccines 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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