Some recalled vaccine doses received locallyFargo Cass Public Health and some local private health care providers were among those that received H1N1 vaccine doses that were recalled nationwide Tuesday, but health officials stress there’s no cause for concern.
By: Kristen Daum, INFORUM
Fargo Cass Public Health and some local private health care providers were among those that received H1N1 vaccine doses that were recalled nationwide Tuesday, but health officials stress there’s no cause for concern.
About 800,000 doses of the swine flu vaccine were voluntarily recalled by manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur due to concerns over the vaccines’ potency, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The recalled doses were distributed to locations throughout the country, including 9,300 to Minnesota and 800 to North Dakota, according to state health officials who said the doses were shipped around mid-November.
It’s likely the doses – pre-filled syringes for those ages 6 months to nearly 3 years – have already been given out, but the public shouldn’t worry, said Molly Sander, immunization program manager with the North Dakota Health Department.
“It’s not a safety issue at all,” Sander said.
Kris Ehresmann, immunization director with the Minnesota Department of Health, said the concern over the doses’ effectiveness is “more technical than practical.”
“It’s effective,” Ehresmann said of the recalled doses. “It’s slightly below a specified range, but it’s still effective in stimulating immunization.”
Children who received the recalled doses do not need to be revaccinated, health officials said.
As with the seasonal flu shot, however, children under 10 need a second dose of the H1N1 vaccine at least 28 days after the first one.
Ehresmann said Minnesota health officials were still contacting providers Tuesday afternoon to notify them about the recalled doses and did not know when a list of those providers would be released.
Some private providers in the Clay County area were among those to receive recalled doses, Ehresmann said.
Clay County Public Health, which has been sponsoring free H1N1 vaccination clinics since late October, did not receive any of the doses, Director Kathy McKay said.
In North Dakota, Fargo Cass Public Health received 200 of the recalled doses, the Southwestern Health District in Dickinson received 100 doses, and the state warehouse had 500 doses, which were distributed to various health agencies from there, Sander said.
Fargo Cass Public Health Director Ruth Bachmeier said the county’s 200 doses were received Nov. 10 and administered during a free public clinic.
Officials were still trying to determine Tuesday afternoon which clinic the doses were used at, Bachmeier said.
While the recall is not a health concern to the public, Ehresmann said it highlights the extensive testing process that vaccines go through.
Sanofi Pasteur officials noticed the effectiveness issue during a routine re-test of some batches of the vaccine.
“This is just part of the safety process that goes on with all vaccines,” Ehresmann said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541