Around 300,000 doses of Preflucel are being withdrawn from pharmacies and hospitals across the UK and Europe, including 2000 doses in Scotland, after health chiefs warned that it was causing more muscle pain, fatigue and headaches than previous vaccines.
The affected batch, which was released in September, has been recalled while its manufacturer – Baxter Healthcare – and drug watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency investigate the cause.
Although there are not believed to be any patients in Scotland suffering adverse side-effects, doctors in Scotland have been told not to use Preflucel until further notice. It is one of 13 flu vaccines being used this winter.
The Scottish Government has said there will be no disruption to its winter flu vaccination programme since Preflucel is only used to vaccinate patients who have an allergy to egg, and therefore accounts for only a fraction of the total immunisations. It will be replaced in the meantime by an alternative vaccine.
A spokeswoman for the Government said: “We are aware of this voluntary recall of Preflucel and have alerted the NHS in Scotland.
“Only around 2000 doses [out of the 2500 bought] of this specific vaccine have been made available to the NHS in Scotland.
“We are not aware of any side-effects having been reported in Scotland.
“Individuals who have been vaccinated with Preflucel should not be concerned – most of the side-effects are mild and short-lived.”
Anyone concerned about side-effects should contact their GP.