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170,000 Doses of Glaxo H1N1 Vaccine Pulled in Canada After Allergic Reactions

Canadian health providers have been advised not to administer about 170,000 doses from the same batch of a GlaxoSmithKline PLC H1N1 swine flu vaccine after six reports of recipients developing severe allergic reactions.

Company officials monitoring reports of side effects, including allergic reactions, associated with the vaccine alerted Canadian
doctors last week and told them to avoid administering doses from the batch, according to the Associated Press.

Health officials in the United States recently announced that some people given the H1N1 vaccine have developed Guillain Barre syndrome, a potentially fatal muscle disorder that can result in paralysis. From October 6 through November 11, 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were six confirmed cases of GBS in H1N1 vaccine patients. Thousands of others have suffered other adverse reactions, including skin rashes and allergic reactions, officials said.

In Canada, officials said it is likely that most of the doses in the batch linked to serious allergic reactions have already been administered. Glaxo is only looking into the reports from the single batch distributed in Canada and said no other doses of its swine flu vaccine given around the world are affected.

Glaxo sent a letter to Canadian healthcare professionals on Nov. 18 advising them not to administer doses from the targeted batch. More than seven million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in Canada, according to the AP.