Firm told to stop making flu vaccine

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One of the world's largest manufactures of flu vaccine was banned from producing the vaccine yesterday, amid safety fears.

One of the world's largest manufactures of flu vaccine was banned from producing the vaccine yesterday, amid safety fears.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) suspended the manufacturing licence of Chiron which had been due to supply 2.4 million doses for the Government's winter flu vaccination campaign.

The Department of Health said the decision would not affect the UK's flu vaccination programme, which was launched on Monday. None of the affected vaccines had reached the general public.

But a spokeswoman admitted there would be a delay of a "few weeks" before some of those at risk - the elderly and chronically ill - received their immunisation.

The department said it had ordered 1.2 million extra doses from other manufacturers to be available to doctors' surgeries by the end of October and a further one million doses to be ready by mid-November.

The MHRA gave no reason for the ban, but said that there were problems with the "manufacturing process".

The temporary ban, which will last three months, applies to Chiron's Liverpool plant, which manufactures nearly half of the US supply of flu vaccine and one fifth of the UK supply.

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