WHO flu expert says vaccines not to blame for Australian sicknesses

An expert on influenza with the World Health Organization has said that it is unlikely that the bad reactions seen in western Australian children are the result of a bad batch of seasonal flu vaccine.

Adverse reactions have been reported in dozens of babies and young children, mostly in western Australia and Queensland, after receiving flu shots. Fevers and convulsions are among the adverse reactions reported.

The death of a two year old Brisbane girl that is potentially linked to the outbreak is currently being investigated by the Queensland coroner. The girl was found dead in her bed one day after she and her twin sister received the vaccinations.

As a precaution, seasonal flu shots for children under the age of five have been suspended since last week.

Ian Barr, the deputy director of the World Health Organization's influenza center in Melbourne, however, has informed ABC that the reported cases involved several different batches of flu vaccine.

"If it was a single batch then you might think that that might be the case," Barr told News.com.au. "If multiple batches are involved then that's less likely I think - but again we still need to wait."

Professor Jim Bishop, Australia's chief medical officer, has ordered a review of hospital records to ascertain the full scope of the problem. All medical staff and parents have also been urged to report any adverse reactions in children.