KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — The Health Ministry has announced today it has temporarily halted the use of two influenza vaccines — SKYCellflu Quadrivalent and Vaxigrip Tetra — as a precautionary measure after at least four dozen people who received them in South Korea reportedly died.
Senior Director of Pharmaceutical Services Datin Dr Faridah Aryani Md Yusof said the ministry had taken note of a statement issued by Singapore’s Health Ministry and the Health Sciences Authority (HAS) on October 25.
“The ministry would like to announce that there are nine influenza vaccines registered under the Drug Control Authority, including the two aforementioned vaccines linked to the deaths in South Korea.
“Only Vaxigrip Tetra, Suspension for Injection in Pre-filled Syringe is supplied to health facilities under the ministry,” it said in a statement here.
Dr Faridah Aryani said the ministry was also informed by Sanofi Pasteur (Vaxigrip Tetra’s manufacturer) that the batch numbers of the vaccine used in South Korea is not marketed to other countries including Malaysia.
She also said there were no reported deaths in the country linked to both quadrivalent influenza vaccines to date.
As a precaution, Dr Faridah Aryani also advised medical practitioners to temporarily halt the use of the two aforementioned influenza vaccines until further information could be obtained by the ministry.
“The ministry constantly conducts continuous monitoring through registered product quality monitoring programmes and pharmacovigilance to ensure the quality, safety and effectiveness of medicines are always guaranteed.
“The ministry will inform the public of the latest developments from time to time,” she said.
SKYCellflu Quadrivalent is manufactured by South Korea’s SK Bioscience and locally distributed by AJ Biologics Sdn Bhd, while VaxigripTetra is manufactured by Sanofi and locally distributed by Sanofi Aventis (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.