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Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2010 Mar;19(3):306-10. doi: 10.1002/pds.1909.

Safety assessment of recalled Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccines--United States, 2007-2008.

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Epidemic Intelligence Service, Career Development Division, Office of the Workforce and Career Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.



On 13 December 2007, Merck & Co., Inc. voluntarily recalled 1.2 million doses of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines that had been distributed since April 2007 for concerns regarding potential Bacillus cereus contamination. Enhanced postrecall surveillance was conducted to detect vaccine-associated B. cereus infections.


We reviewed reports involving recalled Hib vaccines received by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) during 1 April 2007-29 February 2008. For each reported death, autopsy review sought evidence of B. cereus infections. For each specified outcome, the proportional reporting ratios (PRRs) were calculated to compare the recalled Hib vaccines with the manufacturer's nonrecalled Hib vaccines in the VAERS databases. On 20 December 2007, we used the Epidemic Information Exchange (Epi-X) to solicit nongastrointestinal vaccine-associated B. cereus infections, and requested B. cereus isolates for genotyping to compare with the manufacturing facility isolate.


VAERS received 75 reports involving recalled Hib vaccines; none described a confirmed B. cereus infection. Comparative analyses did not reveal disproportionate reporting of specified outcomes for recalled Hib vaccines. The Epi-X posting triggered one report of vaccine-associated B. cereus bacteremia from a child who received a nonrecalled Hib vaccine manufactured by Merck; the genotypes of isolates from the patient and the manufacturing facility differed.


No evidence of vaccine-associated B. cereus infection had been found in recipients of recalled Hib vaccines. Conducting laboratory surveillance through Epi-X was feasible and may enhance public health response capacities for future vaccine safety emergencies.

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