Hon. J. W. Monieilh (Minister of National Health and Welfare):
On Wednesday the hon. member for Essex East asked me whether the batch of Salk vaccine recently tested in Australia had been tested in the laboratory of hygiene in my department prior to shipment.
I understand that the Connaught medical research laboratories had previously shipped 100,000 doses of Salk vaccine in finished vials to Australia, and to the best of my knowledge these have already been used. Because of Canadian and other commitments, the Connaught laboratories could only send a further shipment to Australia in bulk, and I believe it is this second lot which was the subject of the newspaper article referred to. To expedite the Australian program, this more recent shipment was sent prior to testing so that all necessary tests could be completed at the same time in both countries.
My department's information is that the Australian tests for safety were unsatisfactory because of illness from another source in their test animal colony, so detailed information was requested from the Connaught laboratories on their own tests. I understand the Connaught tests here were satisfactory, and their results are being sent to Australia. The Connaught laboratories are submitting the details of their tests and samples for this batch to the laboratory of hygiene. Such details are sent to Ottawa only after all the manufacturers' tests have been satisfactorily completed and the vaccine placed in vials. All the laboratory of hygiene tests are carried out on the finished product only.
Subtopic: SALK VACCINE-REPORTED COMPLAINTS ON SHIPMENTS TO AUSTRALIA