Use of Novartis’ influenza vaccines resumed in some countries

The use of several batches of influenza vaccines manufactured by Novartis is being resumed in some countries that had temporarily suspended them pending further analysis of protein aggregates found in the vaccines.

The temporary suspension of Agrippal, Agriflu and Fluad has been lifted in Canada and Switzerland, following review by national regulatory authorities. The outcomes of internal reviews and risk assessments indicated that the observed aggregates are not external contamination, but integral constituents of the product. Protein aggregates are not uncommon during the production of the vaccine. WHO will provide further updates as the situation evolves.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza and its possible severe complications. Influenza viruses change constantly, requiring frequent adjustment of the composition of the vaccine to be compatible with the most dominant circulating virus strains. Vaccination against seasonal influenza must therefore be administered every year.

WHO recommendations for influenza vaccine

WHO recommends that the vaccine be offered to: people who live in nursing homes, are elderly and/or disabled, or have chronic medical conditions; pregnant women; health care workers; and small children (starting from the age of 6 months). The most recent update to WHO’s recommendations emphasizes the inclusion of pregnant women in any trimester and children aged 6–59 months in national vaccination programmes.