The Queensland coroner is investigating the death of a toddler with a feared link to the seasonal flu vaccine.

But Queensland’s chief health officer says an initial autopsy has shown no sign the vaccine is to blame.

Dusk Johnston reports.

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The seasonal flu vaccine has been put on hold for children under five while authorities investigate a number of cases of abnormal side effects.

The Opposition wants to know why Queensland Health ignored the warning signs.

Mark McArdle, Shadow Health Minister: “The real question is this; what did Queensland Health know, when did they know and why didn’t they act upon it? Why has fear gripped the public because they didn’t act appropriately?”

But the Health Minister was on the defensive.

Paul Lucas, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health: “It is a Federal funded drug. It is Federally approved. It was administered by a GP in a private practice, not in a state hospital, not in a state situation.”

Seasonal flu shots have caused adverse reactions in 251 children under five in Western Australia and 15 in Queensland.

The death of a two year old girl also has been linked to the vaccine but Queensland Health say it’s too early to determine what caused her death.

Jeanette Young, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer: “At this stage there’s nothing jumping out and saying this child died as a result of receiving the vaccine.”

This year’s vaccine has not been subject to clinical trial despite containing a swine flu component. However medical authorities are urging parents to continue to immunise children over five years old.

GPs say people are right to be concerned but should wait for evidence.

John Kastrissios, GP: “I’d like to think that we will not respond to any hysteria.”

Parents and medical staff are urged to report any abnormal reactions to the flu vaccine among children.

Dusk Johnston, QUT News