MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Australian flu vaccine maker denies bad batch cause for illnesses

A Melbourne-based pharmaceutical company that made the flu vaccine being implicated in a rash of Western Australia children falling ill and one death has denied that a bad batch of vaccine is the result.

A spokesman for CSL told The Sydney Morning Herald that, following a check of available batch numbers that were listed on the adverse reaction reports, no single batch of flu vaccine is responsible.

"CSL is continuing to work with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and WA Health to urgently investigate the adverse event reports," a CSL spokesperson told AAP on Tuesday. "What we have been able to analyze so far indicates that it is not batch related...our evidence shows it was not a bad batch."

CSL is also working to determine how many doses of its FLUVAX vaccine were sent to Western Australia. CSL is the only Australian-based maker of the vaccine and is a major distributor.

The lack of one single problematic batch indicates that other factors, including practices at individual immunization clinics, could be the culprit.

More than 250 reports have been received by West Australian health authorities of child sickness linked to the vaccine and a two year old Brisbane girl died. An initial autopsy of the girl, Queensland's chief health officer said, showed no sign of the vaccine being the cause of death, though further tests have been ordered.

As a precaution, administration of the vaccine has been temporarily halted nationwide for children under the age of five.