10/27/2012 05:51 EDT | Updated 12/27/2012 05:12 EST

B.C. halts use of Novartis flu vaccines

B.C. has suspended the use of flu vaccines from Novartis following a recommendation from Health Canada that advised a temporary stop based on reports that some vials of the vaccine contained small clumping material.

Officials say no issues have been raised with any flu vaccines in Canada, saying the suspension is based on a similar suspension of use of the products in Europe.

"This suspension is a purely precautionary measure. We're complying with it fully in British Columbia," said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.

"We have had no safety concerns to date in Canada or B.C. In fact, we know that all the lots received in B.C. passed the manufacturer's quality control processes."

Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid says the public has no cause for concern.

"Most of the flu vaccine that we use in British Columbia comes from other sources, I think 70 to 80 per cent," she said.

"And I think that once this vaccine has been examined — it's just being held for the moment — once it's been examined, as long as it's safe, then it can be rolled out as well."

The province says anyone who has already been vaccinated is not at any risk.