Wed, Oct 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Center for Disease Control lifts French vaccine ban

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

In less than 24 hours, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) overturned its decision on Monday to halt the importation of flu vaccines produced by French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Aventis.

The CDC received news at 9am on Monday that four Israelis had died as a result of them having being vaccinated with drugs manufactured by the French firm and imposed a ban on the use of the vaccines two hours later.

However, the ban was lifted yesterday morning.

"The CDC took a day to determine that the deaths of four Israeli patients were not related to the administering of Sanofi-Aventis-made vaccines," said CDC Deputy Director-General, Chou Chi-hao (周志浩). "[As a result,] CDC decided to lift the suspension after a staff meeting this morning."

Chou said that the center could not verify the information it received on Monday as it was midnight in Israel.

After briefing Minister of Health Hou Sheng-mou (侯盛茂) about the incident, the CDC had decided to play it safe and ban the vaccines.

Wang Kuen-cheng, manager of Sanofi-Aventis Taiwan, said in an interview with the United Evening News that his company's reputation had suffered as a result of the center's actions.

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