Shock reaction sparks flu vaccine inquiry
JULIA MEDEW AND NICK MILLER
October 8, 2009
HEALTH authorities are investigating why a West Australian woman went into
anaphylactic shock after receiving the swine flu vaccine.
A spokeswoman for the West Australian Department of Health said the woman
experienced the reaction after being vaccinated on Monday, but made a full
A spokeswoman for Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Jim Bishop said he was
investigating what had caused the reaction, but believed the woman had an
allergy to latex, which was present in the bung of the syringes sent out to
doctors with the vaccine.
She said she was unaware of any other adverse reactions to the vaccine so far.
''People should feel very confident about the safety of the vaccine,'' she said.
Professor Bishop advised doctors that they should use a latex-free syringe for
patients with an allergy.
Australian Medical Association vice-president Steve Hambleton said the reaction
could have been to the vaccine itself.
''Latex allergies are really rare these days, so rare that it is more likely
this was a standard idiopathic (unexplained) allergic reaction,'' he said.
Research had found it was unlikely that the latex in the bung of a syringe was
enough to trigger a reaction.
It was less rare for those being vaccinated to react to the traces of egg and
antibiotic in the vaccine.
''We should look at this very closely and not jump to conclusions,'' he said.