Western Australia Minister for Health Kim Hames
Public Health Review Called Into Suspension Of Child Flu Vaccination Program
Victor P Taffa
Systems which are used to identify public health risks such as vaccine side-effects, food poisoning and disease outbreaks will come under scrutiny in a new formal State Government review announced today.
Western Australia Minister for Health Kim Hames said the review would recommend ways the WA Department of Health could improve reporting systems to pick up public health risks earlier.
The review comes after Western Australia was the first State to suspend its influenza vaccination program for children under five, following reports of severe side-effects.
Cases of 57 young children who had febrile convulsions following the influenza vaccination are currently being investigated by the WA Department of Health and Therapeutic Goods Administration. The WA program was suspended on April 22, and the national program was suspended the following day.
Dr. Hames said the review would be conducted by former WA Chief Medical Officer, Professor Bryant Stokes and an interim report would be completed in about one month.
“I have been assured by West Australian experts that our response was highly professional and we were the first State to identify young children were potentially being put at risk by the seasonal influenza vaccine.” the Minister said.
“However, it is important the public can continue to have confidence in our State health system, which is why I have initiated this review. I will ensure it is tabled in State Parliament and the results made public.”
The Minister said Professor Stokes would review the department’s systems setup for both the public and health professionals to report suspected vaccine side effects, as well food poisoning and other notifiable diseases of public health concern.
It will also consider in detail the systems in place for reporting vaccine side-effects to both local and national health agencies, and the timeliness and adequacy of the response to the seasonal flu vaccine.
“Professor Stokes is a distinguished neurosurgeon and is currently chair of the State Government’s Elective Wait List Advocate Committee. I look forward to seeing the results of this review and investigating ways we can further improve our State health system.” Dr. Hames said.
Editor Victor P Taffa suffered a near fatal side affect with Olanzapine. Varying doses were given that in May 2007 brought on Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. The Ryde Community Mental Health team were responsible for this situation and only through sheer will power did Victor P Taffa survive.