SPIN, SPIN, SPIN! The sad part in this is there are too many people stupid enough to get this vaccine despite the fact it is killing and crippling people.
Calls for calm amid flu jab scare
Updated 10 hours 3 minutes ago
The AMA is concerned general immunisation rates will fall
The AMA hopes people will not be put off immunising their children despite suspension of the flu shot program. (ABC News)
The Australian Medical Association in WA is hoping a nation-wide ban on flu shots for small children will not affect overall immunisation rates.
Australian doctors have been warned not to give the seasonal flu vaccine to children under the age of five, after a child fell critically ill and dozens more suffered serious adverse reactions after receiving the vaccine in Western Australia.
Other states, including Queensland and South Australia, are also reporting incidents of children being hospitalised and having adverse reactions such as fevers and convulsions.
The vaccine supplier, CSL, has stopped its distribution while it investigates the matter.
Gary Geelhoed from the AMA says while he understands parents' concerns, it is important to remember the benefits of immunisation.
"We would certainly continue to advise parents to have the appropriate vaccination of their children," he said.
"At the same time we need to investigate any possible side effects or downsides, and that's what's happening at the moment.
"But we have to remember that the benefits of vaccinations far, far, far outweigh any side effects."
Mr Geelhoed says he hopes the temporary ban will not affect overall immunisation rates.
"We must remember now that we don't see things like whooping cough, diptheria, tetinus, measles, mumps and rubelle," he said.
"All those things have essentially gone from our community, they've largely gone because of vaccinations."
Health authorities say it is still safe for older children and adults to receive the flu vaccine.
More harm than good?
But one expert urged health authorities yesterday to consider whether rolling out vaccinations to millions of people around the country causes more harm than good.
Peter Collignon, a professor in infectious diseases from the Australian National University, says an effective surveillance system should monitor thousands of people for one or two weeks after vaccination before the vaccine is rolled out to the entire population.
"If you're in a risk group everybody agrees you need to be vaccinated," he said.
"But the majority of the population don't have risk factors, including children.
"Before we roll out a vaccine to millions of people, in my view, we need to do studies of thousands of people over a period of time to make sure we are always going to do more good than harm with the vaccine."
He says the seasonal flu vaccine has three components - one of which is swine flu - and children may be reacting badly to receiving a second exposure to part of the flu virus.
"If you were infected with swine flu itself last year or had been given the swine flu vaccine last November or December or January, if you then get exposed again to a part of the virus, you've already got antibodies and white cells that are turned on to try to fight the virus," he said.
"Therefore if you get exposed to it again you may have a brisk reaction, where you produce more antibodies and more white cells, which gives you a fever and an inflammatory reaction."
He says about 20 per cent of Australian children who received the swine flu vaccine had moderate to severe side effects in the form of a fever of more than 38.5 degrees Celsius and severe muscle aches and pains.
But he says last winter, the risk of someone under the age of 40 getting swine flu and dying from it if they had no risk factors was less than one in a million.
"You have to start weighing this up because you may actually produce as much influenza-like illness with a vaccine as you prevent with people not getting influenza," he said.
"That's been my concern about rolling out this vaccine to the entire population. I don't think we've got enough data to know how effective it's going to be."