Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Alberta resumes use of Agriflu influenza vaccine
The province suspended the use of the vaccine on October 27 until a safety review by Health Canada and the vaccine manufacturer Novartis could be completed. The Health Canada suspension was a precautionary measure following a voluntary suspension of the Agriflu vaccine in Europe after white particulate matter was found floating in one batch of the vaccine.
“The Health Canada review has re-confirmed that the Agriflu vaccine is safe and effective to use as part of our influenza immunization program,” said Dr. Martin Lavoie, Alberta’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health. “We have been assured by federal officials that the suspension of the vaccine was the result of one batch of vaccine that contained protein flakes and that this batch never left the manufacturing plant. Now that the suspension has been lifted, we can make the Agriflu vaccine available through public health clinics, physicians and pharmacists.”
“It’s important that all Albertans get the flu shot, not only to protect themselves but others in their family and their community who may be vulnerable to severe complications from the flu,” said Minister of Health Fred Horne. “I strongly encourage everyone to take the time to get immunized as soon as possible so more Albertans can stay healthy this year.”
Agriflu is one of two injectable vaccines offered through the province’s influenza immunization campaign this year in addition to a nasal spray vaccine available for children aged 2-17. Agriflu makes up about 22 per cent of Alberta’s total vaccine supply.
Albertans can contact HEALTHLink Alberta at 1-866-408-5465 for more information on Alberta Health Services Immunization Clinics, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca or contact their physician or pharmacist.