Committee reviews latest information on safety of influenza vaccines
At its meeting of 16-17 June 2010, WHO's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety was informed of the latest safety data on influenza vaccines - both pandemic and seasonal. With regard to pandemic vaccines, to date the safety profile is reassuring, with no unexpected safety concerns identified. Most of the data reviewed comes from passive surveillance; data from active surveillance will be assessed as they become available. The Committee noted that ongoing vaccine safety monitoring, with regular information-sharing between WHO and national regulatory and health authorities, is critical.
The Committee was also updated by Australia's regulatory authority regarding an increased number of reports of fever and febrile convulsions in children under five years of age following receipt of the 2010 seasonal inactivated influenza vaccine (Fluvax) made by CSL. Currently no clinical or epidemiological factors have been identified that explain the increase. Vaccine testing has shown no abnormalities, with additional testing ongoing. Given this situation, the Australian authorities have advised that this 2010 seasonal influenza vaccine be suspended for healthy children less than five years of age. The Committee is not aware of increased fever or febrile convulsions with other 2010 seasonal vaccines, but noted the importance of reviewing any available data on the use of 2010 seasonal vaccines elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, as well as data that will be forthcoming with the use of 2010 seasonal vaccines in the northern hemisphere.
Others issues considered by the Committee were the latest data concerning the findings of DNA of porcine circovirus in rotavirus vaccines; the safety of meningococcal A conjugate vaccine and live attenuated hepatitis A vaccine; and yellow fever vaccine risks.