Flu shot important for all
WITH the concerns of the new combined flu vaccine increasing, Dr Bryan Slattery warns at-risk patients not to neglect having their annual vaccine.
As the Condamine Medical Centre chairman Dr Slattery said his official position was to still vaccinate adults and children over five years of age at this stage, if they normally get the vaccine.
“It may be worth watching the spot for a little bit but if your child is over five and is normally vaccinated due to an illness I would still be recommending it or discussing it with them,” Dr Slattery said.
The current recommendation from the Australian Medical Authority, Therapeutic Goods Association and the Australian Immunisation Council is suggesting we withhold giving the flu vaccine to children under five-years-old after the recent reported reactions.
We have seen problems in Western Australia and other reports in Queensland and Victoria with the reports varying but there were at least 60 incidents in WA.
There are significant reports of children aged under five-years-old between six to 12 hours after having the flu vaccine experiencing fevers and vomiting and in a small proportion of those cases convulsions.
Dr Slattery said there were two vaccines out at the moment, the swine flu vaccine, which is still being offered free, and the flu vaccine, which for the first time this year includes a combination of influenza A, influenza B and swine flu.
The combined immunisation is the needle which has been linked to bad reactions in children under five.
“We are not sure why at this stage. It is thought it was just a bad batch...it doesn’t seem to be the case anymore,” Dr Slattery said.
“We have been giving the influenza vaccine for 40 years and there have been no problems with the swine flu vaccine since September – whether it’s the combination of the two we don’t know.”
Dr Slattery said there were worries with everyone scared of having the vaccine it could result in a flu epidemic, which could have disastrous results.
“There is no evidence with any significant problems with adults but there is a risk to them if they get the flu or swine flu,” he said.
He advised there had only been reports of fever to the Condamine Medical Centre after having the vaccine, which is not uncommon after getting the jab.
“I am still concerned about it, the situation is changing. Certainly here in Warwick haven’t seen any problems and we have been giving them for about a month,” Dr Slattery said.
The Warwick Hospital director of nursing Megan O’Shannessy confirmed there were no significant reactions reported to the hospital either.
A Queensland Health spokesman confirmed there had been 95 adverse reactions reported in Queensland after seasonal flu vaccinations, 54 for children five or younger.
More than 500,000 doses of influenza vaccine have been distributed to date in Queensland through the funded National Immunisation Program.
The program is for those who are most at risk of severe influenza.
A fever is not uncommon to see after the Influenza Vaccine with children however if the fever persists and they start vomiting seek medical assistance.
If there are no symptoms after 12 hours it is unlikely they will have a reaction.