Global alert over lack of vaccines at Pfizer plant

Pfizer has been forced to suspend production at its manufacturing plant in Bonn, Germany after receiving a letter from the health regulator, according to the company.

Pfizer will not be able to import any vaccine for hepatitis B, typhoid or tetanus and will provide supplementary vaccine supplies.

This follows the withdrawal of nine batches of the vaccine Gardasil 18, manufactured at Pfizer’s Antwerp site in Belgium.

Gardasil is a vaccine used to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can cause genital warts and cancers.

A total of 169 batches of Gardasil 18 were pulled in the weeks after the outbreak of a fungal infection in laboratory tissue.

The damaged samples were presented by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) and Pfizer agreed to review its procedures.

The company is still working with the watchdog and has taken measures to improve contamination testing and removing different strain of bacteria.

Chief executive Mikael Dolsten says it was too early to draw any conclusions.

“We take this matter very seriously,” he said.

“I know our partners at IQWiG as well as Pfizer have been working hard to establish the cause of this. We have taken a number of steps already in reaction to this, but we still cannot provide a firm timeframe for their resolution,” said state Health Minister Uwe Schüns, explaining Pfizer’s decision to recall the vaccine.

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