October 6, 2010
As the northern hemisphere braces itself for the flu season, and for the first time the US recommends flu vaccination for everyone over 6 months of age, Australia has confirmed that its main seasonal flu vaccine, Fluvax, caused convulsions in 99 children, all of whom recovered. Fluvax is made by the Australian firm CSL.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Epidemiologists insist that the benefits of flu vaccines outweigh the risks, however, and are calling for better surveillance to pick up occasional problems faster.
Last March, Australia started vaccinating ahead of the southern hemisphere’s flu season. All the drug firms’ vaccines contained three killed strains of flu, one of which was last year’s pandemic strain, which persists as the dominant seasonal virus in Australia, North America and elsewhere.
In early April, reports came in of children with fever and convulsions following vaccination. On 22 April Australia suspended flu vaccination for children under 5. In late July, vaccination resumed with other makers’ vaccines, but not CSL’s Fluvax.