For those who braved long lines to get their kids immunized against swine flu, it's bound to be unsettling to learn that 800,000 shots for pediatric use were just recalled because they might not be strong enough.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
3-year-old Hannah Rood gets the swine flu vaccine in San Pablo, Calif.
3-year-old Hannah Rood gets the swine flu vaccine in San Pablo, Calif. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Vaccine maker Sanofi Aventis wants back four different batches of pre-filled syringes that contain swine flu vaccine doses for children ranging in age from 6 to 35 months. The problem: the batches of vaccine lost strength after they were shipped from the factory and no longer meet specifications for potency.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there's no safety hazard and doesn't recommend that kids who got shots from affected lots be revaccinated.
The affected vaccine just missed the minimum requirement for potency, the CDC said, so even the substandard lots should be strong enough to evoke a decent immune response in kids.
The CDC continues to recommend that children get two doses of swine flu vaccine about a month apart. So the main piece of advice for parents whose kids got a dose of the substandard vaccine is to make sure they get their second dose on schedule.
The affected shots, packaged in single-dose syringes, come from one of the varieties of swine flu vaccine that doesn't contain the preservative thimerosal. If that issue weighs on your mind (and we're not saying it should), look for another single-dose form of the vaccine rather than one pulled from bigger vial.
You can check out the thimerosal content of the swine flu vaccines in this handy chart from the Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Scroll down to the section labeled "Influenza A - H1N1 2009."