Fluvax still being given to under-fives

August 19, 2015 by
Filed under: Spinewave Bulletin 

flu vax immunisation

fluvax 2015

Source: Australian Doctor

Some GPs are still failing to heed warnings about not giving Fluvax to children under five, the Department of Health says.

Despite being banned in under-fives since 2010 following a spate of febrile reactions, there have been 33 cases where Fluvax has been given to a child under five this winter, according to figures released by the department last week.

While there have been no adverse reactions recorded from these immunisations, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Baggoley said the message was not getting through and he would be urging parents to double-check which vaccines the GP was giving their child.

“I am concerned that some immunisation providers are still giving Fluvax to children under the age of five,” he said.

“Bringing this issue to the attention of parents is also of great assistance, as they can play an important role in ensuring their children are given the right vaccination by speaking up with their primary care practitioner.”

Investigations have revealed that Fluvax was sometimes given inappropriately to children because GPs were unaware of the ban or did not check the make of the influenza vaccine when it was removed from the fridge.

Other incidents of inappropriate administration of Fluvax have occurred when GPs were vaccinating multiple members of family at the same time, or thought the child was older.

Professor Baggoley said there had been numerous communications to immunisation providers since 2010 reinforcing the message about not using Fluvax in children, as well as efforts to put warnings on labels and packaging of vaccines.

Information on appropriate vaccination had also been channelled through groups such as the RACGP and medical indemnity organisations, he said.

“A lot of work has gone into developing systems to prevent incorrect administration of influenza vaccines in this age group,” he said.

From this season, pharmacy dispensing software includes a “pop up” alert about restrictions on the use of bioCSL Fluvax, he noted.

“Protection of young children against influenza remains an important health priority and we will continue to make every effort to ensure that no child under five is given bioCSL Fluvax.”

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