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Published: 5 March 2015

Spontaneous Reports: Seasonal Influenza Vaccination 2014

Prescriber Update 36(1): 13
March 201

In 2014, the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) received 253 reports of adverse events following seasonal influenza vaccination (Table 1). Some reports contained more than one suspected event.

The most commonly reported events were injection site inflammation (50 reports), headache (35), arm pain (30), and nausea (26).

In 2014, eight (3.2%) of the influenza vaccine-related reports were considered serious.

A serious adverse reaction is determined by CARM according to internationally agreed criteria (ie resulting in hospitalisation, is life-threatening, fatal, results in a disability or requires intervention to prevent permanent disability, or results in a congenital abnormality).

There was one death report of an elderly male who went into cardiac arrest a few minutes after his vaccination and died following resuscitation treatment. He had previously received the influenza vaccine multiple times in the past decade. His post mortem revealed pre-existing damage which indicated susceptibility to cardiac death.

In 2014, most reports were submitted by nurses (68%), followed by GPs (10.7%), hospital doctors (2.8%) and pharmacists (2.0%).

Table 1: Numbers of reports received by CARM and number of influenza vaccine doses distributed, 2010-2014.

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Reports of adverse events following influenza vaccination 409 207 193 290 253
Influenza vaccine doses distributed* 1,046,000 993,500 1,000,600 1,253,600 1,206,573
Estimated reporting rate per 100,000 doses 39.1 20.8 19.3 23.1 21.0

* The number of doses distributed is not equal to number administered (eg, some doses may have been destroyed at the end of the influenza season and not used)