Health Canada Finds New Source of TB Vaccine; Japanese Product to Fill Void
Health Canada has announced it has entered a 19-month contract to buy TB vaccine from Japan BCG Laboratory of Tokyo. The company’s vaccine, which was not previously licensed for use in Canada, has received expedited approval. The new arrangement fills a void left when Canada’s only supplier of TB vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur, withdrew all its product earlier this year.
Last fall, the building in which Sanofi manufactures the BCG vaccine against TB was flooded. Later, inspectors from Health Canada discovered mold in what should have been a sterile area of the facility, and the company recalled 47,000 doses of vaccine due to fears over potential contamination. Sanofi is working to repair the Toronto factory, but it does not anticipate being able to return its vaccine to market until late next year.
In response to the delay, the Public Health Agency of Canada contacted five international suppliers of the vaccine. The Japanese manufacturer was selected because of its product’s safety record and its ability to supply the vaccine quickly, Health Canada said.
Even with the new supplier, however, Health Canada said it may be awhile before the vaccine is available for administration.
The BCG vaccine is not widely used in Canada; it is administered chiefly to protect young children in First Nations and Inuit communities where the risk of TB is high.
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