Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the DoH in England, warned GPs and other NHS staff about a possible increased risk of fever from Viroflu in a letter this week.
According to Professor Salisbury, evidence suggests that a higher rate of fever may be associated with use of the seasonal influenza vaccine in children under five years of age than is expected with other influenza vaccines. A warning is expected to be added to the product information for Viroflu, which is produced by produced by Crucell.
Professor Salisbury said: ‘In light of this development, I advise clinicians to use alternative seasonal influenza vaccines authorised for use in children under five years of age. This is because, whilst there is no evidence that Viroflu is associated with an increased risk of febrile convulsions in children under five years of age, an increased risk cannot be ruled out.'
He added: ‘If no suitable alternative vaccines are available, clinicians should make parents aware of the risk and give clear advice about the management of post-vaccination fever in children.’
Crucell will also be communicating with its customers about the warning and has supplies of an alternative vaccine authorised for use in children under five years of age to supply to its customers.