Swine flu vaccines and antiviral medicines: UK post-pandemic safety review

01 February 2011

A swine influenza (flu) pandemic was officially declared by the World Health Organization on 11th June 2009. Following the announcement, the UK offered the flu antiviral medicines oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) to anyone with a flu-like illness.

Then in October 2009, a mass immunisation campaign with the flu vaccines Pandemrix and Celvepan started across the UK to prevent future cases of swine flu. A vaccine was offered to all front-line health and social care workers, those at increased risk of flu complications, and healthy children.

After the pandemic ended in August 2010, the MHRA reviewed all available data on the safety of the swine flu antiviral medicines and vaccines, to outline the UK safety profile of these products. This report summarises the findings of the review.

No new risks were identified with the extensive use of oseltamivir, zanamivir, Pandemrix or Celvepan in the UK during the swine flu pandemic. The balance of their risks and benefits remains positive.

See also:

Article in October 2010 issue of Drug Safety Update (our monthly publication for health professionals on the safety of medicines and vaccines)

MHRA webpage on swine flu

This report presents the evidence that was available when the regulatory decision was made, showing a ‘snapshot’ of the clinical landscape at the time. However, any advice in this report remains current unless it is superseded by a more recent report (where relevant, this is indicated).

Page last modified: 11 February 2016