N.W.T. to monitor newborns unable to get TB vaccine

Health officials in the N.W.T. say they will actively monitor children who aren't able to get the BCG tuberculosis vaccine.

Canadian manufacturer recalled BCG vaccine earlier this month

Officials in the Northwest Territories say they will actively monitor children who aren't able to get the BCG tuberculosis vaccine.

Sanofir Pasteur, the vaccine’s manufacturer, voluntarily recalled it earlier this month because of problems at the company’s plant in Ontario. The company said it won't be making more of the vaccine until late 2013.

TB rates in the N.W.T. are about five to 10 times the national average.

Dr. Andre Corriveau, the territory's chief medical health officer, said they will have to be vigilant in monitoring children born in the N.W.T. who are unable to get the BCG vaccine. (CBC)

"We're going to have to make sure that we keep track of children who should have received BCG but haven't, and be more vigilant in terms of our surveillance," said Dr. Andre Corriveau, the N.W.T.'s Chief Public Health Officer.

In the Northwest Territories, the vaccine is given to babies in communities where there are high rates of TB or a history of exposure to TB, according to Health Canada.

The federal government is currently looking internationally for sources of the medicine. Corriveau hopes to have access to the vaccine in the fall.

In Nunavut the vaccine is offered to all newborns to protect infants against two serious forms of TB. The TB rates are about 75 times the national average in Nunavut.