Nunavut receives new TB vaccine supply

Infants in Nunavut, Canada, are once again being immunized against tuberculosis following a months-long shortage after the territory received a new supply of the vaccine from Japan.

The TB vaccine, known as the Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccine, was unavailable since June because Canadian manufacturer Sanofi-Pasteur recalled it over safety concerns. The company said that it would not produce additional vaccines until late 2013 when it could improve quality management and complete factory renovations, reports.

In the interim, the territory ordered approximately 5,000 doses of the vaccine from a Japanese manufacturer. Maureen Blake, Nunavut's chief medical officer of health, said that the territory received the supply on October 31 and started using it in mid-November.

The territory will use the supplier from Japan until Sanofi-Pasteur begins manufacturing the vaccine again.

Nunavut is the only Canadian territory where the BCG vaccine is given routinely to infants because of the high rate of TB in the jurisdiction. According to the Canadian Medical Association, Nunavut's TB rate is approximately 75 times the national average. The vaccine protects against serious TB forms for two years.

In 2012, the territory experienced 79 active cases of TB, up from 75 in 2011. There were 101 cases recorded in the territory in 2010, reports.