Taiwan Suspends Free Flu Shot Program

Taipei Department of Health reported a discolored influenza vaccine dose

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The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (TCDC) issued an emergency call to stop issuing a flu vaccine in 7 counties and cities after the Taipei Department of Health reported a discolored vaccine dose on October 23, 2018. 

According to reports by the Taipei Times, when the influenza vaccine was administered the day before at the Linsen District of the North City Joint Hospital, it was discovered that 1 unopened vaccine was abnormal in color. 

The vaccine appeared to be a brown color, like tea. The normal color of this vaccine should be transparent and colorless. 

TCDC officials inspected the Vaxigrip stock at its storage facility and did not find any other vaccine with abnormal coloring. 

This vaccination suspension affects the Vaxigrip brand of trivalent flu vaccine, reported the Taipei Times.   

As there are no reports of similar incidents with the company’s other vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur said it ‘was regarding this case as an isolated incident.’ 

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The Vaxigrip flu vaccine is 1 of 2 products deployed by the Taiwan government, which has prepared 6 million doses for the 2018 free flu shot program, which hospitals began administering on October 15th.

The other flu vaccine is AdimFlu-S, is manufactured by Taiwan-based Adimmune Corp. 

The nation has imported 300,000 Vaxigrip doses, with about 190,000 syringes having already been distributed to health centers in Taipei, New Taipei City, Hsinchu city and county, as well as Taoyuan, Taichung and Miaoli County, while about 100,000 syringes were still in storage, the TCDC said. 

The TCDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-Hsiang (莊人祥) said ‘this was the first time that the centers had seen discoloration of an influenza vaccine.’ 

The TCDC would return the discolored vaccine to Sanofi Pasteur for further analysis and all vaccines in the batch are to be placed on hold until the company has finished its probe, reported Taipei Times