§ Mr. Dalyell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 25 February 2002,Official Report, column 985W, to the hon. Member for Wantage (Mr. Jackson), what the outcome was of the safety and quality control tests performed on vaccine stocks. [440081
§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 26 March 2002]Since 1979, vaccine batches have been tested on a rolling basis for maintenance of potency.
A three month project of vaccine testing in accordance with the original World Health Organisation recommendations for smallpox vaccine manufacture applicable at the time of production for this vaccine, commenced at the beginning of January 2002.
As the vaccine is a live, biological material, its potency would be expected to decrease over time. Expert advice in September 2001 was that the current stocks of vaccine could still be used. The result of the recent testing show all the current vaccine has a potency at least equivalent to that found in a recent American study to induce adequate clinical and immunological reaction. Further expert advice has confirmed that the findings of the American study can be applied to the United Kingdom's vaccine.