Updated Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:32pm AEST
The number of children suffering adverse reactions after receiving the free seasonal flu vaccine may be severely underestimated because health authorities have no way of monitoring people’s reactions, experts say.
Australian doctors have been warned not to give the seasonal flu vaccine to children under the age of five, after a child fell critically ill and dozens more suffered serious adverse reactions after receiving the vaccine in Western Australia.
Other states, including Queensland and South Australia, are also reporting incidents of children being hospitalised and having adverse reactions such as fevers and convulsions.
Queensland Health says three children have been hospitalised and 41 have had adverse reactions, but only 15 of those cases were children under the age of five.
A West Australian mum who had her three-year-old daughter and her one-year-old twins vaccinated two weeks ago told ABC Local Radio in Perth that things started to go wrong just three hours after her children had their flu shots.
“My three-year-old started shaking. She went purple and she was trembling and she couldn’t stop, so I rushed her down to Margaret Hospital,” she said.
“While I was at the hospital I got a phone call from my husband saying the twins were vomiting and were very sick so I’ve raced home to them.”