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Are Vaccines Made In China?

Expert Pediatrics Q&A

By

Updated January 06, 2010

Q. I am concerned about all of the reports of problems with toys, pet food, and other products that are made in China. Are vaccines made in China? Gina, Ft. Worth, Texas

A. It is easy to understand your concern, as there have been a lot of recalled products that have been made in China, including the:

  • toothpaste recall, which contained a poisonous chemical, diethylene glycol (DEG)
  • pet food recall, which sickened and killed dogs and cats because the food was contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical
  • toy recalls, because of lead paint
  • heparin recall, a blood-thinning drug because of a potentially dangerous contaminant

Many vaccines aren't made in the United States anymore. You can be reassured that the vaccines in the yearly United States Childhood Immunization Schedule are made in countries where the FDA can closely monitor the manufacturing process of the vaccines for safety though.

For example, Rotarix, the rotavirus vaccine that was approved in April 2008 by the FDA, is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals in Rixensart, Belgium.

Where Are Other Vaccines Made?

  • ActHIB (Hib) - Sanofi Pasteur SA in Lyon, France
  • Adacel (Tdap) - Sanofi Pasteur Limited in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Boostrix (Tdap) - GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals in Rixensart, Belgium and Wavre, Belgium
  • Daptacel (DTaP) - Sanofi Pasteur Limited in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Energix-B (Hepatitis B) - GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals in Rixensart, Belgium
  • FluMist (Influenza) - MedImmune Vaccines, Inc. in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Wyeth in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Fluzone (Influenza) - Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania
  • Gardasil (HPV) - Merck & Co., Inc., West Point, PA.
  • Havrix (Hepatitis A) - GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals in Rixensart, Belgium
  • Infanrix (DTaP) - GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, but manufactured by Chiron-Behring GmbH & Co. in Marburg, Germany
  • IPOL (IPV) - Sanofi Pasteur SA in Lyon, France
  • Menactra (Meningococcal) - Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania
  • Pediarix (DTap, IPV, Hepatitis B) - GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals in Rixensart, Belgium
  • PedvaxHIB (Hib) - Merck & Co., Inc., in West Point, Pennsylvania
  • Prevnar (Pneumococcal) - Lederle Laboratories in Sanford, North Carolina and Pearl River, New York

The FDA states that vaccines are "rigorously scrutinized for their effectiveness and safety" and that the FDA requires manufacturers to test vaccine samples from each lot and "carries out spot-testing of its own."



Sources:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Vaccines Licensed for Immunization and Distribution in the US.

FDA. Contaminated Toothpaste from China Frequently Asked Questions.

FDA. Pet Food Recall/Contaminated Feed Frequently Asked Questions.

FDA Fact Sheet. Vaccines Provide Effective Protection and FDA Makes Sure They are Safe.

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