Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Thousands of babies injected with contaminated vaccine

This isn't going to help confidence in the wake of the MMR debacle, is it?

Thousands of babies may have been injected with a vaccine contaminated with a potentially lethal blood-poisoning bacterium, it emerged last night.

Health officials withdrew 21,000 doses of the meningitis C vaccine from GP clinics around the country that were sent out about a week ago. It is not known how many babies may have received the jab in that time. More than 60,000 doses of the vaccine, which is offered to all four-month-old babies, could be contaminated with the hospital-acquired infection – the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium – but a third of these had already been sent to vaccination clinics before officials became aware of the problem.

Officials within the Department of Health and the vaccine's manufacturers are believed to have known of the problem since Tuesday but only issued an emergency recall of the vaccine last night after being contacted with details of the potential contamination by The Independent.

Last night the Tory health team demanded answers about why it had taken so long to withdraw the vaccine and said there may need to be an inquiry.

It is possible that many hundreds or even thousands of children could have received at least one dose. One official said that there have as yet been no reports of any adverse reactions to the meningitis C injection.

The revelation comes at a critical time given that many parents are still suspicious about childhood vaccinations, largely as a result of the unfounded scare over the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine which was incorrectly linked to childhood autism in a study published more than 10 years ago that has now been retracted.

Source: The Independent

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