Australian children fall ill after flu vaccine administered

The West Australian Health Minister has announced that more than 60 West Australian children may have had adverse reactions to a flu vaccine.

As a result of the reactions, Health Minister Kim Hames has halted vaccinations of the three-strain flu vaccine, which includes swine flu, for children under the age of five.

Health professional nationwide were advised to stop immunizing children under the age of five as a precaution, Jim Bishop, Australia's chief medical officer, said.

A higher-than-expected reactions to the vaccine, which was offered free by the state government to children, were reported. Febrile convulsions were reported in 44 children under 10 taken to the Princess Margaret children's hospital. Twenty-three of those reactions were related tot he pediatric flu vaccine. Twelve of the 23 children were admitted to the hospital. 

One child is in critical condition following the reception of the vaccine. Few details on the child's condition have been released, though the child is said to be seriously ill.

The average age of children who reacted adversely to the vaccine was approximately two years old, though children between the ages of five and 10 also experienced fevers and convulsions.

In addition to the 44 children suffering febrile convulsions, another 40 children under the age of 10 were taken to other hospitals in the state with febrile convulsions.

"Advice from West Australian clinicians has said that there is a consistent clinical picture that they're seeing, with fever and vomiting around six hours and certainly within 12 hours of vaccination," West Australian Health Department chief health officer Tarun Weeramanthri told