H1N1 Flu Vaccine OK Despite Recall

12.16.09 Particular doses of infant swine flu vaccine tested as less potent but still safe, officials say

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U.S. health officials are recalling 800,000 pre-filled syringes of the H1N1 flu virus vaccine for infants, The New York Times reports. The targeted batch was made for children 6 months to 35 months in the nationwide effort to protect high-risk people against the "swine flu" outbreak.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials stress that the recall is completely voluntary and not related to safety worries. Manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur alerted the CDC when it discovered in follow-up testing that the potency of the shots had fallen slightly below required levels weeks after first checking and shipping the shots at the necessary strength requirements. Why the potency dropped isn't clear, a Sanofi spokesman said.

A CDC spokeswoman urges parents not to worry, emphasizing that they don't need to do anything if their child got one or even two of the recalled shots. The vaccine is safe and effective in stimulating a protective response, she said.

Children younger than 10 years old are supposed to get a second shot one month after the first anyway, and should still follow these guidelines, according to the CDC. Public health experts continue to warn that the 2009 H1N1 virus has the potential to cause widespread illness, but pregnant women are proving to be a hard sell when it comes to getting vaccinated—despite being at high risk for catching it.

For more information about this vaccine recall, visit the CDC's website for up-to-date details. And for more on recent recalls of other baby products, check out our Recalls Database for an in-depth list.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.