Canada secures new supply of TB vaccine

A new supply of tuberculosis vaccine has been secured by Health Canada after the country's sole supplier recalled all of its products earlier this year.

Health Canada has now entered into a 19 month contract with Japan BCG Laboratory of Tokyo to be the necessary TB vaccine. Expedited approval was given to the vaccine because it was not previously licensed for use in Canada, CTVNews.ca reports.

Sanofi Pasteur recalled 47,000 doses of TB vaccine in mid-June amid fears that it could have been contaminated, leaving Canada without a TB vaccine supplier since then. The potential contamination stems from a flooding of the building where the vaccine was stored last fall. Mold was then found in what should have been a sterile manufacturing area.

The facility, which is located in Toronto, is currently being repaired by Sanofi, which does not expect to get its product back to market until the end of 2013, according to CTVNews.ca.

The BCG vaccine, named after Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin, uses a weakened, live strain of Mycobacterium bovis, which causes tuberculosis in cows and is related to th bacterium that causes TB in people.

Canada, however, does not widely use the BCG vaccine, which is mainly used in protecting young children in First Nation and Inuit communities that face a high risk of TB outbreaks.

"We expect that the BCG vaccine will be made available to the communities that need it in the coming months," the health department said, CTVNews.ca reports.