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More Botched Flu Vaccines

If you thought botched flu vaccines were gone for good, guess again! Sanofi Pasteur, responsible for producing half of the vaccines for the upcoming flu season, received a warning letter from the FDA, citing contamination problems at its Swiftwater, Pa., manufacturing facility.

Problems arose when the company reported 11 lots of monovalent concentrate (a component of vaccines made from a specific flu virus) failed sterility tests. Although the concentrate was discarded and no more problems have occurred, the FDA issued the letter anyway because the source of the problem hasn't been identified, meaning it could happen again.

The problems could be the result of using contaminated chicken eggs, the company says. And that's an inherently dangerous process among many, according to one drug safety expert, based on old vaccine technology.

Is it any less dangerous, however, than the presence of thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, found in vaccines?

Just a reminder, there are safer, healthier and more natural methods for avoiding the flu without the need for a vaccine.

USA Today July 5, 2006

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