Seasonal Flu Vaccine and young children

04/04/2012

Influenza Vaccine Reminder

On 3 April 2012, the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer issued a reminder to immunisation providers of the influenza vaccines recommended by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) for use with children.

Providers are reminded that Fluvax® is not registered for use in children under 5 years of age in Australia and should not be given in this age group due to the increased risk of febrile convulsions. ATARGI recommends the use of Fluarix® and Vaxigrip® for children between 6 months and 10 years of age eligible for immunisation under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Children between 6 months and 10 years of age who are not eligible under the NIP may also use Influvac® and Agrippal®. All influenza vaccines may be used in anyone aged 10 years or over.

Providers should also note that there may be a small increase in the risk of fever and febrile convulsions with the co-administration of trivalent influenza and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in children 12-35 months of age. These vaccines may still be given together but providers should discuss this small risk with parents prior to vaccination. If the vaccines are given separately, there should be at least an interval of three days between each vaccine. Click here for recommendations for the use of 2012 seasonal influenza vaccine by brand and age group.


 

Please find below information relating to the use of 2010 seasonal influenza vaccine in children.

Updated advice: Withdrawal of Panvax® Junior

On 26 August 2010, the Department of Health and Ageing and the Therapeutic Goods Administration advised that CSL has withdrawn Panvax® Junior 0.25mL pre-filled syringes because of a reduction in vaccine antigen potency over time.  The registered 12 month shelf life of Panvax® Junior 0.25mL pre-filled syringes is no longer accurate and has been reduced to 6 months.  As a result existing stocks of Panvax® Junior should now be considered expired. The safety of the vaccine is not affected.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has developed detailed advice on the implications of the withdrawal of Panvax® Junior for children 6 months to less than 10 years of age and alternative vaccine options.

For further information please visit the following Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing websites:

30 July 2010 - Updated advice

Please find below updated advice from the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer in relation to adverse reactions to 2010 seasonal influenza vaccine in children.

Updated advice on the use of the seasonal influenza vaccine for children aged from 6 months to less than 5 years.  

On 30 July 2010 the Chief Medical Officer advised that children aged from 6 months to less than 5 years may be vaccinated with Vaxigrip® and Influvac®, following a discussion of the risks and benefits of these vaccines with parents and guardians.  This includes both children at risk of medical complications of influenza and healthy children.  Vaccination of children in this age group with Fluvax® and Fluvax® Junior is not recommended due to the identified increase risk of febrile convulsions.  Recommendations for the use of seasonal influenza vaccine including Fluvax® in children 5 years and older and in adults has not changed.

The CMO’s advice follows ongoing investigations in Australia and overseas which have indicated that there does not appear to be the higher than normal incidence of febrile convulsions in children under five with the seasonal flu vaccines Influvac and Vaxigrip. Investigations into fever and febrile convulsions associated with the vaccine Fluvax are continuing.  

For further queries please visit the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing website: Immunise Australia Program

The following additional advice is available for Immunisation Providers:

All immunisation providers are asked to continue to report any adverse events following seasonal influenza vaccination according to their normal procedures. Reports should be made to the relevant health authority in all States and Territories, except Tasmania, where reports should be made directly to the TGA via a “Blue Card” available online. The “Blue Card” and further details are available online at the TGA website.

If parents or the public wish to report an adverse event directly they may contact their State or Territory health authority or the Adverse Medicine Events Line on 1300 134 237 or make a report directly to TGA online. Please make sure that the person reporting knows exactly which vaccine the person has received.

Please note that the Department of Health and Ageing's Principal Medical Adviser has released information and advice in relation to access to and the use of antiviral medication for influenza. This information remains current as of 30 July 2010 and supercedes any previous information.

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