August 7, 2010 in Nation/World

Flu shot brand not advised for kids

Mike Stobbe Associated Press

ATLANTA – A government panel is recommending doctors steer clear of giving one brand of flu vaccine to young children this year because of convulsions and fever in kids who got the shot in Australia and New Zealand.

At issue is the flu vaccine made by CSL Biotherapies, an Australian company. CSL is one of five manufacturers supplying the U.S. this fall but it only accounts for a small portion of the 170 million doses.

This week, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said doctors should avoid using the CSL vaccine in children ages 6 months through 8 years.

Committee members were concerned about the unexplained higher rate of fevers and related seizures seen in young children who got the vaccine earlier this year in Australia and New Zealand. In kids under 5, the rates were roughly 10 times that of other flu vaccines. No deaths have been linked to the problem.

The panel said the vaccine could be used in children older than 5 if they were at greater risk of flu complications and no other vaccine was available.

The committee provides vaccine advice to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which usually adopts its recommendations and sends the advice to doctors and the public.

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