Credit:

Credit: Guardian.co.uk

Queensland health authorities claimed they were unaware of any deaths linked to the seasonal flu vaccine, despite initiating an investigation two weeks ago into the death of 2 year-old Ashley Epapara, twelve hours after she was vaccinated.

The focus of suspicion is on CSL's Fluvax seasonal flu vaccine as the most likely link to more than 250 adverse reactions reported Australia-wide.

As anxiety grows the New Zealand government has issue a warning for doctors to avoid CSL's Australian-made product and to use one of two vaccine options instead.

With the recent statement made by Queensland health over the death of the two year-old, it is now under increased pressure.

Jeannette Young, chief health officer of Queensland said the department had ordered an urgent investigation on April 9 following media concerns over a two year-old who had died shortly after receiving a vaccination for swine flu.

Until now, neither Queensland Health nor relevant national body has been advised of, or were aware of, any allegedly related to a 2010 seasonal flu vaccination in Queensland, she said on Sunday.

Two year-old Ashley Epapara was found dead in her cot on April 9, 12 hours after receiving the flu vaccination.

Paul Lucas, Queensland Health Minister told a TV news program children should continue to receive vaccination on the same night of her death.

The Coroner is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the child's death.

Australia's adverse events hotlines were running hot with reports of flu jab reactions from parents across the nation and the New Zealand Health Ministry said it had recorded at least 3 cases of febrile convulsions after vaccination.

The number of children under five who have experienced fevers after immunization in Western Australia has now increased to 251.

The Wellington ministry stated in a statement on Friday that all cases in New Zealand and Western Australia, which was 60 at that time, involved the CSL-made seasonal flu vaccine Fluvax, a claim echoed by the New Zealand government official yesterday.

According to the statement, higher-risk children are recommended to be given alternative flu vaccines.

Jim Bishop, chief medical officer in Australia ordered the halt of all seasonal flu vaccination for children under five, and called for further investigation.

Fluvax was thought to be involved in the reports of reactions in WA, said a spokeswoman for the federal Health Department.

The claim was disputed by CSL, saying three rival vaccines are available Australia-wide and investigators have yet to discover which vaccine was given to the affected children.

Flu experts have advised the increase in reactions may not necessarily be caused by the vaccine.

Fluvax is the seasonal flu vaccine distributed by CSL every year to protect against three strains of the actively mutating virus. This year's formulation, for the first time, includes swine flu as one of the three strains.

Tarun Weeramanthri, chief health officer in WA said it was most unlikely a single batch of vaccine to be blamed for the reports of adverse reactions, due to the number and spread of reactions.