The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are recalling selected batches of Sanofi Pasteur manufactured H1N1 vaccine for children. The 800,000 swine flu shots were made for children aged six to 35 months. Is your child affected?
Nationwide H1N1 Vaccine Recall of Children’s Doses
Today the CDC recalls 800,000 kids’ swine flu vaccine doses made by Sanofi Pasteur. The agency stresses that the recall is not related to safety concerns. Instead, the manufacturer alerted officials that the potency of the children’s H1N1 vaccine was below acceptable limits. In short, the antigen concentration in the H1N1 vaccine batches is insufficient to provide adequate protection against contracting swine flu.
Who is Affected?
The H1N1 vaccine recall involves kids’ swine flu vaccine doses for infants and toddlers aged six to 35 months. While parents are advised that they do not need to take action, they are urged to take their young children to receive the H1N1 booster shot that is indicated for this age group. Sanofi Pasteur suggests that even though the recalled doses of children’s H1N1 vaccine have an insufficiently potent active ingredient, effectiveness is only a little below the optimal level and thus is “still expected” to encourage the body’s protective reaction when exposed to swine flu. There are no guarantees.
Who is Not Affected?
If your young child received a shot drawn from a multidose vial – which required exposure to the preservative thimerosal – s/he is not affected by the H1N1 vaccine recall. Moreover, if you consented to letting your child (older than 24 months) receive the nasal spray with the live vaccine, s/he, too, is not affected by the recall. This children’s H1N1 vaccine recall solely affects kids, who received their vaccine via injection from a pre-filled syringe.
How Will I Know If My Child’s Vaccine Is Affected?
Sanofi Pasteur is tracking its batch shipments and will contact recipients. You may contact your child’s pediatrician and inquire about your child’s vaccine. Unfortunately, even if you do find out that your young child’s first H1N1 vaccine dose may have contained insufficiently potent antigens, there is little recourse. Mixing and matching vaccination methods – i.e. following up an injection with a dose of nasal spray – is strongly discouraged. Moreover, if your child received the shots as part of an open clinic, it may be difficult to track down the organizers or lot numbers.
Highest Risk Population
Here in Southern California, with close proximity to the Mexican border, this is especially worrisome for children of undocumented immigrants, who sought out free H1N1 vaccine clinics in droves. With few questions asked, little documentation requested, and the focus on protecting as much of a health services underserved population as possible, it will be virtually impossible to track down parents, whose children received a potentially ineffective (or less effective) dose of the vaccine.