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UK's Pediatric ConFLUsion on Flu Vaccination

Question mark kids UK Telegraph Tuesday 18 January 2011

Doctors ordered to stop giving flu jabs to children

Health officials have ordered doctors to shelve a vaccination programme which was under way to protect children from swine flu.

By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent 10:15AM GMT 16 Jan 2011

Doctors in north-west England began giving jabs to healthy schoolchildren earlier this month, after senior medics decided that stocks of vaccine should be used to prevent the spread of disease among the young.

The decision, taken by Bury Primary Care Trust (PCT), came 11 days ago, following more than a dozen deaths in Greater Manchester, including three in Bury, as well as that of three-year-old Lana Ameen, who died on Boxing Day soon after falling ill in nearby Stockport.

Parents were told that their children would be offered the jabs, and hundreds of pupils at two schools in Bury, Derby High School and Prestwich Arts College, were given the vaccine.

But on Tuesday, bosses at North West Strategic Health Authority (SHA) ordered doctors and nurses to stop providing the jabs and now hundreds more families have been informed that their children will not be offered protection after all.

Local doctors say the change of plan to bring the area in line with official Government restrictions has left parents feeling fearful and anxious.

Government policy says that while pregnant women, the elderly, and those with health problems are supposed to be offered the vaccine, healthy children should not be given it, despite high incidence of flu among the young this winter.

With rising numbers of deaths among children, the Government policy is under increasing attack.


Dr Peter Elton, director of public health for Bury PCT, had ordered the vaccination of children, starting with five schools, after considering research in medical journal The Lancet, which showed particular risks of flu complications among ethnic minorities.

He said that the programme was sensible, because "stopping just one child from needing intensive care treatment more than pays for vaccinating the whole school".

The decision, taken at a meeting of the PCT on January 5, had been backed by local doctors.

The PCT now says it changed its stance last week "based on further advice received from the SHA".

Dr Rakesh Thakker, a local GP, said the move by the SHA to block the vaccinations had left parents anxious.

He said: "I was involved in the decision to vaccinate healthy children we thought it was in the best interests of our local population.

"It is difficult when that decision gets overruled the change of plan has caused significant problems and concerns among parents, who don't know what to think."

On Friday, the father of Lana Ameen, who died aged three after falling ill in nearby Stockport, spoke of his grief and fury over the Government's refusal to vaccinate children.

Dr Zana Ameen, an NHS doctor, had sought the jab for his young daughter, but had been told she was not eligible. She died on Boxing Day, after falling ill while the family visited relatives.

He said: "As a doctor, I can't think of any medical reasons not to make it available to young children. The only possible reason can be saving money."

Last winter, children under the age of five were offered the swine flu jab, but this season, Government advisers said children should only be vaccinated if they had health problems, refusing to change the advice even as flu reached epidemic levels among young children.

Documents have shown that last January, a majority of a committee of scientists advising the Government on the vaccination programme thought children should be included in the programme, yet inexplicably changed their mind weeks later.

As flu rates among young children soared, the group held emergency talks two weeks ago but decided that there would be insufficient "gain", as rates of flu were likely to fall soon.

Figures published on Thursday show the number of flu deaths has doubled in a week, up from 50 to 112.

Influenza experts said they had "a lot of sympathy" with angry and anxious parents who have been trawling private clinics, and even going abroad in search of vaccines.

On parenting website Mumsnet, mothers described desperate attempts to find centres which would give the jab, with some private clinics charging more than 200 for it.

Others said they had used family trips to France and Switzerland to have their children immunised, while several mothers of young children said they were keeping them away from school and nursery because of their concerns.

Prof John Oxford, a flu expert at Queen Mary, University of London, said: "I have a lot of sympathy for parents in this situation, I can see why they would be anxious."

He said that he felt "uneasy" about the Government approach to the flu outbreak, and that it appeared to be "stumbling" into decisions, such as the late move to launch a national advertising campaign last month, and Friday's decision to use old stocks of swine flu vaccine to plug shortages of seasonal jabs.

Microbiologist Prof Hugh Pennington said he was "very disappointed" by the decision not to offer the jab to children, contrasting advice in this country with that in the US where it is routinely given.

He said: "Some babies have already died from swine flu this winter, and undoubtedly there will be more deaths the numbers are small, but these deaths are preventable."



Isn't their decision to withhold flu jabs just a marketing ploy to make parents WANT the jabs? Didn't we see this a few years ago in the US, when it was announced that there was a major shortage of flu vaccines, only the high-risk would receive them, blah blah blah--and then the vaccine manufacturers sat back and congratulated themselves as people lined up around the block to make sure they got "their" flu shots?

Nothing like an artificial shortage to create a demand...


Uptick in Febrile Seizures Tied to Flu Vaccine
Medpage Jan 20, 2011


What adjuvant is currently being used in the U.K. flu jabs? In Australia, it was apparently a saponin-based adjuvant. In the US, there is apparently no adjuvant, at least, no adjuvant has been disclosed.

How much risk are we willing to accept from these flu jabs? Febrile convulsions? Cancers? Alzheimer’s? Pancreatitis? Cardiovascular events? Type I diabetes? Other autoimmunes diseases?

“Flu vaccination and pancreatitis” by Mukerji, et al on November 3, 2005.

“Flu Vaccines and the Risk of Cancer” by Dr. Sherri J. Tenpenny on July 10, 2009.

“Fast-tracked Swine Flu Vaccine under Fire” by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins on July 27, 2009.

“Swine Flu a “Faked Pandemic” by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho on January 27, 2010.

“Cardiovascular Risks from Swine Flu Vaccines” by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho on November 10, 2009.


Hi Patron99: Glad you appreciated the BMJ letter. I have found Peter Collignon a Professor of Infectious Disease in Australia to always be very insightful and truthful, about the problem with flu vaccinations and young children; wish we had more like him.

Thanks for your links. The people of Britain don't realize it, but the British government actually seems to have had a little foresight, about not recommending flu vaccination for their young children, more than I can say for our government.

Jan, I'm glad you liked the link, too.


Rachel - the link you posted to the BMJ Letter is fantastic for it’s clarity and succinctness. Thank you. Here’s a couple more articles related to the flu epidemic in the UK.

“UK Finally Makes Smart Decision to Protect Children... Why Doesn’t the US?” by Dr. Joseph Mercola.

“Possibly they took a look at what Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, one of the world's leading immunologists, has had to say on the flu vaccine. Fudenburg found that anyone who had more than two flu vaccines between 1970 and 1980 has a far higher chance of having Alzheimer's in old age.”

“UK Government Decides Against Giving Children The Flu Vaccine” by Christina England on December 31, 2010.


Sara: That was the point of my post, even though they never found out why the vaccine caused a higher than normal rate of adverse effects in children and they hadn't used enough of the other vaccines to see if they caused a similar rate of adverse events, they still went ahead and recommended it to all children over six months of age in North America.

An interesting fact about the children (five and under) in Australia that experienced febrile convulsions, fevers and vomiting after receiving this years “seasonal + swine flu vaccine” is that it was in the area (Western Australia) that had the highest child influenza vaccine rate. So maybe, that smaller group of children, that will have an adverse event were being exposed in greater numbers.


"Investigators in Australia have never been able to find anything in the CSL vaccine that would explain why it would cause more fevers and convulsions in children."

so? if its causing seizures, you pull the drug and figure out why later. and maybe, just maybe, they aren't looking hard enough. look how long it took the CDC/FDA to discover that acetaminophen, a drug pushed shamelessly as the most trusted, gentle medication to give to children, causes liver damage in current doses and hamstrings the immune response.


Love, love love that link. Thanks, Rachael. Will be referring to it to my Daily Mail friends!


"Last winter the likelihood that a child without risk factors would die from swine flu was less than one in a million.2 When such a high proportion of children develop moderate to severe febrile reactions to the influenza vaccine, more harm than good seems likely from vaccinating them."


Investigators in Australia have never been able to find anything in the CSL vaccine that would explain why it would cause more fevers and convulsions in children. Two other flu vaccines for children were also used in Australia, Influvac, made by Solvay Biologicals, and Vaxigrip, made by Sanofi Pasteur, but TOO FEW DOSES of them had been administered to accurately determine if they are linked to similar rates of fever and convulsion.


I don't know that the little girl's ethnicity would have anything to do with it, but I sure don't like the fact that they have never mentioned the problem with children under 5 having a high incidence of seizures ( one death) in Australia and the subsequent withdrawal of the vaccine for the pediatric population there. I mean seriously, how can there be a decent discussion of the flu vaccine when there is an obvious block on certain key points in the discussion. Don't they think people read? I looked at the Daily Mail a lot the last few weeks and this important fact has never come up there! Sad as it is that this man lost his daughter to the flu, it is equally sad that parent's have lost their child to a flu vaccine. Sadly, some illness is a part of life.

david burd

The article states: "Figures published on Thursday show the number of flu deaths has doubled in a week, up from 50 to 112."

However, in context of the entire article this figure appears to be one-hundred eleven (111) adults and the single 3-year old, Lana Ameen, who seems to be non-UK ethnicity.

Also the article states: "--research in medical journal The Lancet, which showed particular risks of flu complications among ethnic minorities."

The population of the UK is about 61 million, so a little over 100 flu-associated deaths by mid-January (most elderly and having pre-conditions if typical of past years) is hardly a cause for national alarm.

This article seems a back-door publicity approach to drum up fears of parents and a promotion for flu jabs.

The Comment by GH to ask about Australia is apt. My Post of January 4 here on AoA documented zero Australia pediatric flu deaths for their entire 2010 flu season after they called off the shots at the beginning of their season.


The article is missing an important word: 'Australia'.

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