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Warnings for GPs over usage of flu vaccine in children

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The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has warned its members to be wary when administering the influenza vaccine to children under 5.

In a member communication, they have confirmed that there have been off-label usage of influenza vaccines Fluarix Tetra and Fluvax which poses a safety risk for children.

The RACGP says the GSK Fluarix Tetra is being incorrectly administered to children under 3 years (including half doses of the vaccine). The vaccine isn’t registered for this age group.

The Seqirus’ (BioCSL) Fluvax is also being incorrectly administered to children.

Related: Flu vaccine more effective in the morning: study

According to the Influenza Fact sheet from the Department of Health:

FluQuadri Junior® (Sanofi Pasteur) is for children from six months to under three years of age is presented in a 0.25 mL pre-filled syringe.

Fluarix® Tetra (GSK) for people aged three years and older is presented in a 0.5 mL pre-filled syringe.

In order to minimise vaccination accidents, the RACGP recommends:

  • Ensure children’s vaccines are quarantined and clearly labelled in the vaccine fridge
  • Ensure two clinical staff check each vaccine before administration
  • Read the Australian Technical Advisory Group’s statement on influenza vaccines
  • Discuss with your practice about practical steps to ensure patients receive the correct vaccine every time.

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