The Newfoundland Department of Health and Community Services says the seasonal influenza vaccination in this province has not been affected by Health Canada’s decision to suspend the distribution of Novartis flu shots.
In a news release today, the department said the province has been allocated a different vaccine, FluViral, from GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
The department is encouraging residents to receive the seasonal influenza vaccination.
Residents who are at high risk for complications from influenza will be provided the vaccine free of charge through a publicly funded influenza program, distributed through the regional health authorities or family physicians.
The department notes that some private immunization clinics may be using a vaccine from a different manufacturer than the one provided by the provincial government. It advised people to inquire with the private clinic if they have questions or concerns.
According to Health Canada, Agriflu and Fluad are two of the seasonal flu vaccines produced by Novartis that have been pulled from use in several European countries pending further examination of white floating material discovered clumping in the vaccines.
The vaccines were approved for use in Canada, but Health Canada says, as a precautionary step, it asked Novartis to suspend distribution of the vaccines in Canada until a full review of the situation is completed.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is also recommending that health care professionals in possession of these vaccines refrain from using them until the review is complete.
Health Canada's advisories can be found online at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/advisories-avis/_2012/index-eng.php
More information on influenza management from the Newfoundland government can be found online at www.gov.nl.ca/health/publichealth/cdc/infoforpros_edu.html