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The safety of seasonal influenza vaccines in Australian children in 2013

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Fever and febrile convulsions in young Australian children were widely reported after vaccination with one brand of influenza vaccine (Fluvax and Fluvax Junior; bioCSL) in 2010.1 This unexpected increase in risk (estimated incidence of 4.4 seizures per 1000 doses) was confirmed in several studies.26 The method of manufacture of the Fluvax vaccine, which unknowingly preserved strain-specific viral components of new influenza strains in 2010, appears to have been responsible for the higher rate of fever in children.7,8 Despite reassuring data on the safety of other brands of influenza vaccine6,9 and the recommendation that Fluvax vaccine not be administered to young children,10,11 there has been a loss of confidence in the safety of influenza vaccines. In Western Australia, where influenza vaccine is available free of charge for all children aged 6 months to < 5 years, influenza (but not other routine) vaccine uptake was substantially reduced in children during 2010–2012.12

To provide more information on the safety…