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'Switch vaccine for diphtheria'

The Government has told GPs to switch from using the current diphtheria vaccine for adults to the combined tetanus and low-dose diphtheria (Td) vaccine for all routine uses.

The Department of Health ordered the switch because supplies of the adsorbed diphtheria vaccine were nearly exhausted and it had been difficult to secure suitable re- placement stock.

A spokesman said the manufacturer of the vaccine had failed to confirm in writing that it complied with European legislation on transmissible spongiform encephalopathy requirements.

The transmissible spongiform encephalopathy risk from vaccines, including the diphtheria vaccine, has been examined by the Committee on Safety of Medicines which concluded there were no safety issues arising from the use of animal-derived materials in the manufacture of vaccines.

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