A government advisory panel is recommending that doctors avoid giving one brand of flu vaccine to young children this year after children in Australia and New Zealand who got the shot suffered from convulsions and fever. The vaccine at issue is one made by CSL Biotheraphies, an Australian company.
CSL Biotheraphies is one of five manufacturers supplying the United States this fall, but accounts for only a small portion of the 170 million doses. They will be providing just 10.5 million doses.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said on Thursday that doctors should not give the CSL vaccine to children aged 6 months through 8 years. They were concerned about the unexplained higher rate of fevers and seizures seen in young children who got the vaccine earlier this year in New Zealand and Australia. For children under 5, the rates were 10 times that of other flu vaccines. No deaths were linked to the problem.
The Committee provides vaccine advice to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which typically adopts its recommendations and sends that advice to doctors and the general public.
Investigators in Australia have not been able to find anything in the CSL vaccine that would explain why it would cause more fevers and convulsions in children.