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Educat Ber'ore
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CI-IILDI-IOOD
INFLUENZA
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The Australian
Vaccination Network livingwisdom
A Fact Sheet on Childhood Influenza
Prior to last year's declaration of an influenza pandemic
('swine flu; AH 1 N 1), children in Australia had never before
been routinely targeted with flu vaccines, except in
Western Australia.
1
This is because the group most at risk
of mortality and morbidity from influenza infection are
aged 65 years and over. 2 In general, children and infants
who contract Influenza-like-Illness, which is caused
by hundreds of viruses and bacteria, generally find the
illness to be mild and self-limiting with a risk of death
considered to be less than 1 in a million. 3
Only one safety study was done on the seasonal influenza
vaccine that was offered to WA children in 2008 and it
has never been studied in combination with the other 13
vaccines now routinely given to children in Australia.
2
This
year, the vaccine for children contained the swine flu virus
-Influenza A H1 N1 2009, plus 2 other strains of influenza
virus.
1
The manufacturer's information states, "Neither Influenza
A (H1 Nl) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine nor AFLURIA has been
evaluated in children. Safety and effectiveness in the
pediatric population have not been established:'
In 2008, the Western Australian Government allowed
the manufacturers of two of the brands of seasonal flu
vaccine, CSL Pty Ltd and Sanofi-Pasteur, to fund a study of
the effectiveness of flu vaccines in children as young as 6
months of age.
1
The trial has been cut short due to a high
incidence of seizure activity and other serious adverse
events following administration of this vaccine which now
includes the 'swine H 1 N1 2009' virus.
1
A fear campaign
based on anecdotal evidence was used to encourage WA
parents to vaccinate their children in 2008/9.
1
For those who are investigating the pros and cons of
influenza vaccines for children, we would like you to keep
the following information in mind:
Childhood deaths from influenza are extremely low.
There have been 0 -3 deaths per year in children
under the age of 5 in Western Australia over the last
4 decades. Nationally, the death toll has also been
between 0 - 3 per year since 1977.
4
The consequence of influenza in children / adults is
mainly absenteeism from school and work. 5
The risk of complications and death from influenza is
greatest in people over 65 years of age and there is
an increased risk of complications from influenza in
children under 2 years of age. 6
The attack rates for influenza are consistently high
in children during annual outbreaks. But even at 20
30%, the majority of children make a full recovery and
discomfort is the main symptom of illness. 7
A survey of paediatricians in the US showed 43% of
doctors actively opposed the universal vaccination of
children and 27% were unsure. 50% of doctors were
concerned about the safety of the inactivated vaccine. 7
Most children with complications to flu are not
hospitalised.
7
Infants under 3 years and children with underlying
medical problems are at highest risk of being
hospitalised.
7
Infants under 6 months have the highest risk of
hospitalisation - but the inactivated vaccine is only
licensed for use in children 6 months of age or older. 7
Today's children receive up to 12 vaccines before 12
months of age. 2
There are cumulative, synergistic and latent effects
from the chemicals in vaccines. These chemicals
include mercury and aluminium adjuvants
(neurotoxins), antibiotics and preservatives - known to
cause allergies and anaphylaxis. 8
The efficacy of inactivated vaccine in children under 2
was found to be similar to placebo - not effective at all. 5
It is also stated in the Cochrane Systematic Review
that childhood influenza vaccines are not good at
preventing influenza-like illness in children over 2. 5
Chronic illness in children has increased as the number
of vaccines used in children has increased. 2
No long-term health studies have investigated the link
between vaccines and chronic illness in children.
1
Coercive vaccination is unethical if the government
cannot prove vaccines do not cause chronic illness in
children. The Precautionary Principle must be applied.
Judy WilYlTlan PhD Candidate Murdoch University
J.Wilyman@murdoch.edu.au
.,
Effectiveness nf the I nflucnl'.a
"<.leduc in Healthy Children
In a recent master study*
that analysed all relevant
u) Oldt;r Than 2. Years of Age
lnacttVdkd
live Influenza Vacci ne Influenza Vaccine
influenza vaccine studies
during the past 40 years,
researchers found that
in healthy children older
than 2 years of age, the live
flu vaccine was just 33%
I IU.hT 2.' em", uf ...
Inacti va ted Influenza VacCIne
effective; the inactivated
vaccine was just 36%
effective.
In a recent master study**
published in The Lancet,
"O/fI,' jhJl .....
researchers found NO
evidence that influenza vaccines prevent flu in children
younger than 2 years old.
References:
1. Western Australian Government, Dept. Health, 2008,
a) www.public.health.wa.gov.au
b) F,Iu vaccination advertisement, The West Australian
Newspaper, 6th July 2007.
2. Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing,
a) Immunise Australia Program
b) National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance
(NCIRS) .
3. Unnecessary injection of risk: VaCCination; Prof P. Collignon, The
Australian 1/5/2010, http://bit.ly/cIFQou
4. Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and
Welfare, National Mortality Database, GRIM Book Influenza, 2005.
5. Jefferson T, Rivetti A, Harnden A, Di Pietrantonj C, Demicheli
V, 2008,Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children,
Cochrane Database ofSystematic Reviews, Issue 2, 2008, Art. No.:
CD004879.
6. Rivetti A, Jefferson T, Thomas R, Rudin M, Rivetti A, Di Pietrantonj
C, Demicheli V, 2008, Vaccines for preventing influenza in the
elderly, Cochrane Database ofSystematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3.
Art No.: CD004876.
7. Heikkinen T, Booy R, Campins M, Finn A, Olcen P, Peltola H,
Rodrigo C, Schmitt H, Schumacher F, Teo S, Weil-Olivier C,
2006, Should healthy children be vaccinated against influenza?
European Journal of Pediatrics, 165: 223-228, DOll 0.1 007/ s00431
005-0040-9.
8. Eldred BE, Dean AJ, McGuire TM, Nash AL, 2006, Vaccine
Components and constituents: responding to consumer
concerns, Medical Journal ofAustralia, Vol. 184 Number 4, 20,h
February 2006.