Apr 27, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – In the latest developments surrounding suspected adverse reactions to the seasonal flu vaccine in Australian children, an autopsy revealed no clear link to immunization in the death of a 2-year-old, and vaccine maker CSL said it has found no evidence of a bad batch connected to cases reported so far. The adverse events that the country’s health officials are investigating involve CSL’s seasonal flu vaccine, which covers the pandemic H1N1 virus. So far most of the reports are concentrated in West Australia state, which unlike other states offers free seasonal flu vaccine for children under age 5.
West Australian officials have received 250 reports of possible adverse reactions, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported today. Queensland has also received some adverse-event reports and is investigating the death of a 2-year-old Brisbane girl who died about 12 hours after receiving the vaccine. The events prompted Australian health officials on Apr 23 to ask health providers to stop giving children under age 5 the vaccine while it investigated fever and convulsions in some children who had received it. At the same time CSL said it stopped shipping the pediatric version of its Fluvax vaccine while it and health authorities investigate the events.
Dr Jeanette Young, Queensland’s chief medical officer, said today that the initial autopsy on the Brisbane child revealed no evidence that her death was linked to the seasonal flu shot, but further tests are needed, the Brisbane Times reported today. “It’s too early at this stage to say that the vaccine caused this child’s death or indeed what did cause this child’s death,” she said. “But at this stage there’s nothing jumping out and saying this child died as a result of receiving the vaccine.” Meanwhile, CSL, which makes flu vaccine for Australia but is not the country’s sole provider, said today that a check of vaccine batch numbers on the adverse-event reports does not indicate that a single batch is responsible for the suspected reactions, the AAP reported today. CSL told the AAP that it was continuing to work with regulators and West Australian health officials to investigate the adverse-reaction reports.
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