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Hilary's Desk

Professor Peter Collignon disturbed at lack of influenza data

Hilary Butler - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This morning, on Nine to Noon, Kathryn Ryan listened while Professor Peter Collignon carefully detailed his concerns about the lack of data on flu vaccine side effects; the short comings of the current reporting systems world wide; the inadequate reasoning behind the use of the H1N1 vaccine. Everything Professor Collignon stated this morning, underlines everything I said to the Health Select Committee on vaccination rates, on April 15th, 2010.  So let's see how my suggestions to expand the use of the National Immunisation Register to include other health data might pan out in the current situation of serious Fluvax reactions in Australasian children.

In the National Immunization Register there would be two groups:

1)  Vaccinated:

Every child whose parents chose to vaccinate, would chose to do so on the basis that the NIR would also include the following:

Any medical history which would TYPICALLY exclude any child from any vaccine trials (phase I, 2 or 3).

This include all problems which could impact on the future health and welfare of the child, and affect a child's response to a vaccine.  Drug companies know this, so it's about time safety databases include this information:

Family History:

  • Ethnicity
  • History of diabetes, immunodeficiency, febrile seizures or any condition which might impact on the future health and welfare of the child.

Obstetric history:

  • Intrauterine growth retardation and reasons why.
  • Pre-eclampsia, or toxaemia.
  • Premature birth.
  • Drugs used in pregnancy, and why.
  • Scan results and blood test results - including whether or not the mother is a Hepatitis B carrier.
  • Any condition which might impact on the future health and welfare of the child.

Labour and delivery:

  • Caesarian or vaginal delivery (deliver method impacts on the baby's immune system in the first year)
  • Drugs used in labour and deliver.
  • Baby's Apgar scores.
  • Any significant post delivery history which compromised the baby's health in any way.

Neonatal history:

  • All infections which result in a prescription for antibiotics.
  • All conditions which result in a prescription for asthma or allergy drugs.
  • Breastfeeding history, for how long and any problems.
  • Formula feeding, for how long and any problems.

Child history:

  • Nutritional status - e.g. Iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, and key minerals status. 
  • Plunket evaluations,
  • Preschool and school evaluations.
  • Special needs.

Vaccine history:

  • Result of examination on the day of vaccination which confirms the child is fit to have a vaccination, any prior vaccine reactions and notation of any fever, or infection at time of vaccination, whether or not that infection resulted in a prescription for antibiotics.
  • All vaccines given, manufacturer's name, batch number, where given and by whom.
  • Any incident which follows that vaccination whether considered "coincidental" or not - including visits to the doctor, and/or hospitalization for any cause.
  • Any death from any cause following a vaccination of any kind.

2) Unvaccinated.

Any parent who agreed to be on the National Immunisation Register, after being guaranteed the current policy of serial harassment about non-vaccination would stop, would include most of the same family information, except of course, the vaccines NOT given.

Purpose of the above:

In the last few weeks, many children in Australia who received FLUVAX, have had high fevers and seizures and one death has occurred so far.

The inclusion of the above data on the National Immunisation Register, would allow CARM or a designated trusted sentinel authority, to use the data base, to find out:

  • Whether the fevers, reactions, seizures and any deaths were directly related to the vaccine or not.
  • Whether pre-existing health conditions, like the ones which exclude children from vaccine trials, mean that those children are also far more likely to react to vaccines
  • Which children are the MOST LIKELY to have fevers and seizures, for any reason.

The database would then be asked for a comparative analysis of the data from unvaccinated children to see if  background events  could explain what is happening in the vaccinated, and work out rates of events per 1,000 children, in both groups.

In the light of at least one study showing that children who have the flu vaccine are MORE LIKELY to be hospitalized with asthma than children who don't get the vaccine, an expanded National Immunisation Register could provide an instant sentinel alert for many potential health outcomes which the medical profession appears to be unaware of at the moment.

Long term, such a data base would tell you far far more than that, such as comparing the health problems in the vaccinated children, compared to the unvaccinated children.

This information should then be anonymized and made available to the public so that parents can know the outcomes of their choices.

Privacy issues?

Are privacy concerns an issue? If you as a parent, are convinced that vaccines are good for your child, but also wanted a safety check if something happened after a vaccine, wouldn't you want this information to be available to the people trying to work out what has happened to your child and why?

If you are a parent who choses not to vaccinate and are sure that this choice is for the ultimate benefit of your child, wouldn't you be willing to provide that information?

Some have said, that there must be a right to NOT have that information on the register, but let the child's vaccination information be on the register as it is now, with nothing else there. 

My response to that, is that if a parent OPTS ON to the register, that information should be compulsory, because if a parent OPT ON, but declines to have that information recorded,  two things happen:

  • Their child cannot be effectively cared for in the event of a serious reaction, because the reasons for the problem will be harder to define.
  • An opt out provision gives the Government and MOH an excuse to remove any information it sees fit without anyone realising that.

Fine.  If a person doesn't want their information on the register, whether you vaccinate or not, you don't OPT IN to be on the register in the first place.  That does, however, defeat the purpose of having an effective and comprehensive safety net to evaluate the health, safety and welfare of all children in the country.

Let's see if this Government has the foresight to look seriously at the information benefits such an OPT IN National Immunisation and Health status Register, could deliver to them.

And more importantly, to provide comprehensive comparative health analyses in order to help parents make informed choices for their own children on health matters, including vaccination.

 

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