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Parents Hammer Hotline as Hundreds of Adverse Flu Vaccine Reactions Reported

More than 250 adverse flu jab reactions have now been reported in under-fives.

Australia's adverse events hotline says its phones are "running hot" with calls from parents, and the scare has spread to New Zealand, with the Health Ministry saying it had recorded at least three cases of febrile convulsions following vaccination.

In Western Australia, where a potential spike in cases was first spotted, the number of children under five who have suffered fevers after being immunised has now risen to 251, The Australian reports.

Cases have also been reported in Queensland and South Australia.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration says parents who have concerns because their child has received the seasonal flu vaccination should contact their doctor.

Reported adverse reactions include fever, vomiting and febrile convulsions.

Chief Medical Officer Jim Bishop has ordered the suspension of all seasonal flu vaccines for children under five, pending further investigation.

But suspicions are now centred on CSL's Fluvax seasonal flu vaccine as the likely link.

A spokeswoman for the federal Health Department said Fluvax was believed to be involved in the West Australian reports of reactions.

CSL has contested the claims, saying three rival vaccines are available nationwide and that investigators have yet to discover which vaccine was given to the affected children.

And flu experts have cautioned that the spike in reactions might yet prove to be illusory, or caused by factors unrelated to the vaccine.

Meanwhile Queensland Health has come under increased pressure for its public statements over the death of toddler Ashley Jade Epapara.

The two-year-old girl was found dead in her cot on April 9, 12 hours after receiving the seasonal flu vaccine.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, said yesterday the department had ordered an "urgent investigation" on April 9 after media inquiries about a two-year-old who had died shortly after receiving a swine flu vaccination.

On Sunday, Dr Young said: "Until now, neither Queensland Health nor the relevant national body had been advised of, or were aware of, any death allegedly related to a 2010 seasonal flu vaccination in Queensland."

Reference Source:

April 29, 2010


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