(October 31, 2012) Saskatoon – Saskatoon Health Region will resume immunizing for influenza following a decision by Health Canada to restart distribution of the vaccine used in Saskatchewan. The vaccine is manufactured by Novartis and marketed under the brand names Agriflu and Fluad.
Distribution was halted late last Friday night and health regions were asked to stop immunizing after the company reported the finding of clumping particles in one batch of the vaccine in Europe. That vaccine was never released for use.
Health Canada has confirmed that flu vaccine made by the pharmaceutical firm Novartis is safe for use. It lifted a precautionary hold on the vaccines today. Health Canada found no safety issues with the vaccines based on its own testing, information from its European partners and data from Novartis. There is no need for people to be re-immunized.
“Questions about the vaccine have been answered,” says Dr. Ross Findlater, Saskatoon Health Region’s Deputy Medical Health Officer. “We have received confirmation from Health Canada and Saskatchewan Ministry of Health that there is no longer any concern about the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine.”
The Region had scheduled three major immunization clinics for this week:
- Thursday, November 1, Humboldt, St. Augustine Parish Centre, 1pm to 7pm
- Friday, November 2, Saskatoon, Lakewood Civic Centre, 9:30am to 7:30pm
- Saturday, November 3, Wadena, Farmer’s Market, 10am to 3pm
All three clinics will continue as planned. The Health Region will also reschedule clinics in Bruno, Leroy, Wishart and Waldheim, in senior high rises and at Cosmopolitan Industries in the next few weeks. Further, immunization of Saskatoon Health Region staff, physicians and volunteers will resume on a daily basis through occupational health and safety offices, roving clinics and special clinics for higher risk clinical areas.
“We want to assure people that the vaccine is the single most effective way to stay healthy during influenza season,” adds Findlater. “While this incident has added an unexpected challenge to the immunization campaign this fall, it is a clear demonstration of the importance our health-care system attaches to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines we use. We encourage everyone who hasn’t yet received vaccine to come to a clinic this week.”
Starting November 5, an appointment will be needed for flu vaccine. In Saskatoon call 655-4flu
(655-4358). In rural communities, please call your local public health office to make an appointment. More information is available at www.4flu.ca. Many physicians also provide vaccine for their patients.
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Saskatoon Health Region
|Media Note: Dr. Ross Findlater will be available to media this morning at 11am at the Idylwyld Centre (Idylwyld and 23rd St. E.)
Saskatoon Health Region
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