More than a million doses of a common vaccine given to babies as young as 2 months were being recalled Wednesday because of contamination risks, but the top U.S. health official said it was not a health threat.The recall is for 1.2 million doses of the vaccine for Hib, which protects against meningitis, pneumonia and other serious infections, and a combination vaccine for Hib and hepatitis B. The vaccine is recommended for all children under 5 and is usually given in a three-shot series, starting at 2 months old.
Drug maker Merck & Co., which announced the recall after testing this week showed a sterility problem in a Pennsylvania factory, said concerned parents should contact their child’s doctor.
“The potential for contamination of any individual vaccine is low,” said Merck spokeswoman Kelley Dougherty.
“This is not a health threat in the short run, but it is an inconvenience,” Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Merck produces about half of the nation’s annual supply of 14 million doses of Hib vaccine.
Barbara Kuter, executive director of pediatric medical affairs for Merck, told The Associated Press that because of the contamination, the company’s production line has been shut down for at least nine months.
What to look for: If your child has been affected by this recall they will experience, at worst, a skin irritation around the vaccination site. Problems could be worse for children with compromised immune systems. You would have noticed this within one week of the vaccination.
What do you do now? Nothing. The recalled doses are considered potent, so children who got vaccine from the recalled lots will not have to be revaccinated.