VICTORIA - Following a recommendation from Health Canada to temporarily suspend use of Novartis influenza vaccine products (Agriflu and Fluad), British Columbia has halted the use of these products in its influenza program.
As a precautionary measure, Health Canada has advised that it is recommending all health-care facilities stop using the Novartis vaccines, based on a similar suspension of use of these products in Europe. This suspension is purely precautionary, and is based on reports of small clumping material noticed in the vaccines in Italy. There have been no adverse effects related to these vaccines, and no concerns have been seen with supplies already used here in Canada or B.C.
British Columbia is fully complying with this suspension, and will be stopping use of these vaccines immediately. The BC Centre for Disease Control has issued a notice to all health authorities advising them of this measure.
Novartis products represent about 30 per cent of B.C.'s provincial flu vaccine supply, so 70 per cent of B.C.'s supplies are unaffected by this suspension. People who have already been vaccinated do not need to worry - there have been no safety concerns identified in vaccines used to date.
Public health officials here in B.C. are working with their colleagues across the country over the weekend to establish next steps on public vaccination programs.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health