Canadian company halts TB vaccine production

Sanofi Pasteur, the only Canadian manufacturer of the BCG tuberculosis vaccine, recently announced that it will not produce more of the vaccine until late 2013.

The company said the vaccine will remain unavailable until renovations at its factory are completed and quality management is improved at its Ontario plant, according to

Until Sanofi Pasteur announced a voluntary recall of the vaccine in mid-June, all newborns in the Canadian territory of Nunavut were offered the vaccine to protect them against the most dangerous forms of TB. TB rates in the territory are approximately 75 times the national average, according to the Canadian Medical Association.

The federal government is currently searching for international suppliers to fill the void. Health Canada, the national public health department, said that it has contacted five international BCG vaccine manufacturers and has entered discussions, but would not say when it expected shipments to arrive.

Maureen Baikie, Nunavut's deputy chief medical officer, said parents may have to wait to get the vaccine, but that it will become available.

"It may be a few months before we're able to get it to every child, but we don't expect there to be any adverse effects on their child due to this supply issue," she said, reports.