Some flu vaccines pulled by P.E.I.

The provincial government has put a hold on administering two brands of flu vaccine after some problems with them were detected in Europe.

The provincial government has put a hold on administering two brands of flu vaccine after some problems with them were detected in Europe.

There have been no adverse health effects from the flu vaccines, says Dr. Heather Morrison. (CBC)

Fluad and Agriflu are being reviewed after the vaccine developed clumps. Health Canada asked Novartis to hold off on distributing the vaccine until the situation can be reviewed. There are no reports of illness as a result of particles in the vaccine.

Morrison told CBC News she got the call from Health Canada late Friday night, recommending a temporary hold on the two vaccines.

"We have really followed suit over the weekend and asked our people who give vaccine not to give any vaccine until this halt is lifted, hopefully in a few days."

Morrison wanted to reassure Islanders no one who has already had the vaccine is at risk.

"There are no reports across the country, or here in P.E.I., of any clumping," she said, adding officials on P.E.I. take added precautions.

"Our public health nurses for instance, always do a visual inspection of the vaccine before they give it and they shake it, and if it doesn't disappear, if there are any particles, they report it to our office."

Morrison said Health Canada indicated it hoped to complete its review within a few days. She thought the problem could lie with the storage or transport of the vaccine. Morrison said the vaccines are checked by Canadian health officials before they are released to the provinces.

A few thousand already vaccinated

P.E.I. ordered 51,000 doses of the influenza vaccine this year, which arrive on on the Island in stages.

Morrison estimates a few thousand Islanders have received their shots since the annual campaign started a couple of weeks ago.

"I actually think the people who've gotten their vaccine are in a good position because they've been vaccinated. Now I'm trying to make sure there's a supply there until this review has occurred," she said.

She has been in contact with Health Canada and her public health counterparts across the country and is in discussions with them about securing another supply of vaccine until the review is complete.

P.E.I. does have a supply of 4,000 doses of FluMist, a vaccine that is administered through a spray that is available for those aged two to 17. That spray is not impacted by this temporary suspension.

A number of provinces have halted administering the flu vaccines until the review is complete.

Dr. Morrison told CBC the usual flu season usually starts at the end of December, so the province does have some time to arrange a supply. She said it usually takes two weeks from the time the vaccine is administered, until individuals are considered protected.