When are Vaccines Recalled?
When we think of recalls, our first thoughts turn to dread as our minds turn to defective or dangerous products that could potentially endanger our lives. But, what are recalls and how do they affect us?
Typically, a recall is a product that is removed from the market or a correction made to the product because it is either defective or potentially harmful. When we are talking about a vaccine recall, these can be in the form of withdrawn or recalled vaccines from doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals and other places permitted to administer vaccines.
It’s important to know that vaccine recalls or withdrawals are almost always voluntary by the manufacturer. Since vaccines go through rigorous testing before they are approved to the public for use, it is highly unlikely that vaccines are defective. When recalls do occur, it is most likely because there are concerns about their effectiveness or potency. The vaccines are still safe, but their ability to help protect against disease is in question. In some cases, vaccines may be recalled due to contamination of vaccines with equipment.
How do I know if a vaccine has been recalled?
To know if a particular vaccine has been recalled, your doctor may notify you if a vaccine given to you or your child is recalled. For products that have been widely distributed, the news media may announce it in the media (newspaper, television news report). You may also check with various federal health agencies that monitor vaccine safety such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute of Health for a list of recalled vaccines. Additionally, The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is a national vaccine safety surveillance system to investigate possible problems with the possible problems affecting individuals after being vaccinated.
What do I do if I have used a recalled vaccine?
Once you have discovered that a vaccine has been recalled, there are several steps that you can take.
Individuals may need to be vaccinated again to ensure that they receive the proper level of protection (depending on the particular vaccine). In any event, if you believe you or your child received a batch of vaccine that was contaminated or recalled, monitor the effects at the injection site such as unusual rash, signs of skin or muscle infection around the injection site. To allay yourself of immediate concerns, check with your doctor.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has jurisdiction on drugs, medication, and vaccines, it works in conjunction with other federal agencies such as the CDC or Center for Disease Control.