On October 31, 2012, Health Canada advised the provinces and territories that it is lifting its directive to hold distribution and use of Agriflu and Fluad.
As a precautionary step, the products were temporarily pulled from distribution last week by Novartis, and held from use in flu vaccination clinics, at the request of Health Canada, while Health Canada investigated potential concerns.
Health Canada looked at the results of its own testing, conducted a health risk assessment, reviewed information from its European partners and data submitted by Novartis before making its decision.
None of the information reviewed indicated a safety issue.
All vaccines authorized for use in Canada are carefully tested for safety and effectiveness before being allowed on the market.
According to the Italian health regulator, one lot of Agriflu and Fluad showed clumping of particles. This lot was never released to the market.
Clumping of the kind noted in Europe is common in vaccines. Health Canada has previously seen such particles before in other vaccines and has observed no impact on their safety or effectiveness.
Health Canada found no safety issues with the vaccines based on its own testing, information provided by its European partners and the manufacturer, and its past experience with possible clumping of vaccine products.
As soon as Health Canada informed Ontario of its decision, the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health issued notification to all health care providers involved in flu immunization in the province to resume the distribution and administration of the two vaccines.
Absolutely. The Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly recommends that Ontarians get their seasonal flu shot. The earlier you get immunized, the earlier you're protected against influenza and its possible serious complications.
All vaccines administered before the suspension were safe and effective, so individuals who received the vaccine do not need to be re-immunized.
All of the vaccines that are used in Ontario are approved for use in Canada and are safe and effective, including the Novartis vaccines. If someone is concerned about any of the vaccines offered, they should speak to their health care provider about what options are available to them.
At no time was there a shortage of flu vaccine in Ontario. Flu immunization clinics continued to be held across the province. There is enough flu vaccine in Ontario to immunize all Ontarians who wish to receive the vaccine. To find a flu clinic near you, visit www.ontario.ca/flu.
There are four vaccines currently used for flu immunization in Ontario :
Vaxigrip, Fluviral and Agriflu are authorized for use on individuals six months of age and older. Fluad is targeted to individuals 65 years or older.
All individuals six months of age and older, who have no contraindications, are encouraged to get the flu shot.
Anyone, six months of age and older, who lives, works or attends school in Ontario can receive the flu vaccine free of charge.
Each year, it is estimated that between 10 to 20% of the population becomes infected with influenza each year.In Ontario, influenza results in up to 1,000 hospitalizations.
While most people recover completely, approximately 1,600 Ontarians die each year as a result of influenza and its complications.
A recent study by scientific experts showed that, every year, Ontario's free flu shot program saves approximately–
Call the ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-877-844-1944
TTY (Toronto) 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm
Visit Telehealth Ontario or call 1-866-797-0000
Hours of operation : 24 hours, 7 days a week
Visit ontario.ca/healthcareoptions or call 1-866-330-6206.To find a health care provider
If you don’t have a health care provider, you can register for the Health Care Connect program. Visit ontario.ca/healthcareconnect or call 1-800-445-1822.