New Brunswick Public Health reports adverse events following three flu shots

·2 min read

FREDERICTON — Public Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting "adverse events" in three people who received a specific batch of influenza vaccine.

The problems were reported in three adults who received the vaccine between Oct. 2 and Oct. 20. 

Officials say neurologic symptoms, which included sustained numbness or weakness of the face or limbs, occurred within seven days of receiving the vaccine.

They say they have been able to identify the specific batch of about 85,000 doses of influenza vaccine and say providers will not administer further shots if they have any remaining inventory.

All remaining doses from other batches will continue to be administered, while health officials say further investigation into the affected batch is required.

Provincial authorities say they have advised the Public Health Agency of Canada of the issue and an alert has been posted to ensure other jurisdictions are aware of the situation in New Brunswick. 

In a news release issued Sunday, Dr. Cristin Muecke, the province's deputy chief medical officer of health, encouraged New Brunswick residents to get immunized against seasonal influenza via vaccine that remains available and is not part of the batch in question.

“The risk of experiencing a severe adverse event remains extremely low and anyone who received a flu vaccine more than 10 days ago without an adverse reaction should not be concerned,” said Muecke.“The neurological nature and the severity of these adverse events from the affected batch are unusual for New Brunswick and we need some time to determine if they are linked to the vaccine." 

To date, New Brunswick has received more than 420,000 doses of influenza vaccine, which represents a 26 per cent increase compared to last year. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press