Do WA parents know that their children were part of a vaccine study?
Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), Australia's
national vaccination and health safety watchdog, would like to ask if the
parents of Western Australia
whose children were vaccinated against seasonal flu - with such devastating
effect - are aware that their children were part of a study funded by the
vaccine manufacturers CSL Pty Ltd and Sanofi Pasteur? (1a,1b)
This study, run via the Telethon Institute and initiated in 2008 at a cost of
$1.2 million, was put together to pre-emptively determine if flu vaccines were
effective in children.
"One has to wonder about the ethics involved when, as part of a study
funded by the vaccine's manufacturers, and without the parents being told, children
are offered a new vaccine which has never been used before in this age group.
Especially when the State Government has pushed so hard to get parents to agree
to this vaccine - even sending personal letters out to families with children
in this age range using information from the Medicare database." says
Meryl Dorey, media spokesperson for the AVN.
Yesterday, the AVN submitted a series of questions to West
Australia's Health Minister and Shadow Health Minister. Though the
Shadow Minister has responded to say that he has submitted our questions to the
Department of Health, we have not received any response from the Minister's
office. Below are the questions we feel need to be answered.
Is the AH1N1 portion of these vaccines recycled from the unused doses of
last year's swine flu shots? If so, considering that those shots are now at or
past their use-by date, could this be the cause of the current problem?
Is this vaccine being administered from multi-dose or single dose vials? If
we are using multi-dose vials, why was that decision made since the risk of
cross-infection and also the risk from the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal,
are unnecessary in a non-emergency situation?
Is the vaccine used in WA the same vaccine being used across Australia and
if so, are these sorts of reactions being reported in other locations?
Were all of these vaccines administered in a particular clinic setting or
were they distributed across WA?
Can the government release the Lot and
Batch numbers of the vaccines associated with this cluster of reactions so that
others can be made aware that it might be a hot lot?
Has there been a higher-than normal rate of reactions reported in adults and
adolescents who are receiving seasonal flu vaccines this year?
Did the 45 children who reacted to these shots over the last couple of days
receive any other vaccines at the same time as their seasonal flu shots?
Is the West Australian government aware of the published results of a recent
40-year retrospective study conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration into the
effectiveness of influenza vaccines in children? The results are displayed in
the following graphs:
Dr Thomas Jefferson who is a worldwide expert on influenza vaccines and
who worked on this retrospective study, reported in the British Medical Journal
that, "In children under 2 years inactivated vaccines had the same field
efficacy as placebo,8 and in healthy people under 65 vaccination did not affect
hospital stay, time off work, or death from influenza and its
"While there may be hundreds and even thousands of children and adults who
have already reacted to this year's seasonal flu vaccine (The Perth Now (3)
forum has had almost 300 comments posted regarding this issue - the majority of
those from people whose children have had reactions), it is essential that the
government immediately put together a task-force to investigate how the
decision was made to use this vaccine, what independent research was available
to show that it was either safe or effective and what role - if any - the
vaccine manufacturers played in introducing this vaccine to the childhood
schedule." Ms Dorey stated.