Vaccine withdrawn over bacteria fear26th February 2009
Drug company Novartis has withdrawn 21,000 batches of the meningitis C vaccine after two samples proved to be contaminated with bacteria.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said the batches had not been sent out in the UK and the withdrawal was "entirely precautionary".
Novartis stated it was "committed to being a safe and reliable provider".
The Menjugate Kit, which was made in Italy, had left the factory and was being driven to the UK.
However a few samples were flown over by plane in order to see if the vaccine would stay uncontaminated when exposed to varying air pressure.
Some samples were discovered to contain staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
The Department of Health warned GPs who were sent the vaccine to send it back. The vaccine is usually given to babies aged around 3-4 months.
A spokeswoman for the MHRA said: "The tested samples that failed the sterility test were part of a non-routine study undertaken by the company and were not part of the UK market product."
Dr Ged Lee, from the MHRA, said they were taking precautions and that no contamination had been found in any of the samples sent to the UK.
He said: "The batch that was contaminated I can reassure you was not distributed into the UK and I can also reassure parents that the product that has been used in the UK has passed all the necessary quality standards and is perfectly safe."
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Title: Vaccine withdrawn over bacteria fear
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 10358
Date Added: 26th Feb 2009