Novartis vaccine recalled in U.K.

U.K. authorities have recalled a Novartis meningitis vaccine on fears that 21,000 doses might be contaminated with bacteria. The infant vaccine--sold under the brand name Menjugate--had been ordered by the Department of Health as part of its routine meningitis C vaccination program for all babies. Sixty thousand doses were delivered in January and February, but only 21,000 had been sent out to doctors and clinics.

Regulators said they hadn't received any adverse event reports. The recall is precautionary, they said.

Novartis said it had found traces of Staphylococcus aureus in the solvent in which the vaccine is suspended, during tests on other vials made at the same time as the recalled batches. The company notified U.K. officials Tuesday about the problem and said it wanted to recall those batches.

It's the second vaccine recall in Europe in the last few weeks. Italian authorities pulled doses of Merck's human papillomavirus Gardasil when two girls became ill after receiving shots from the same batch.

- read the story in the Telegraph
- check out the BBC article