Delivering a Healthy WA
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2012 Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance Annual Report

The Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS) system has been operating since March 2011. Reports of suspected adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) are accepted from health providers and the public. The WA Health Department monitors these reports to ensure anybody who experiences a significant AEFI receives appropriate clinical follow-up.

Significant AEFIs are rare and adverse events after immunisation are not necessarily caused by the vaccine. Factors such as medical history, diagnostic tests, and other medication given near the time of vaccination must be considered when determining the cause of an adverse event.

The following is a summary of AEFIs reported to WAVSS following a vaccination given in 2012.

Surveillance summary

  • A total of 290 individual AEFI reports were received by WAVSS for persons vaccinated in 2012, compared with 323 in 2011, (Table 1) and 1,075 in 2010.
  • The reports described a total of 566 possible adverse events (a vaccine recipient may describe multiple AEFI reactions). A total of 370 met established case definitions.
  • The AEFI reports involved the administration of 473 vaccines, with a median number of 1 vaccine per person reported (range 1–5 vaccines per person).
  • A comparison of the number of reports received by month vaccinated in 2012 to 2011 is seen in Figure 1 below. The months with the highest number of AEFI reports were March and April 2012, coinciding with the influenza vaccination program launch and roll-out of more than 340,000 doses of influenza vaccine. The reactions reported in these months are seen mainly in adults aged 18 years and over.
  • Trivalent influenza vaccine was administered in 24% (70) of the AEFI reports—either singularly or in combination with other vaccines—compared with 21% (67/323) in 2011 and 89% (795/1075) of reports in 2010.
  • Of all AEFI reports, 45% (130) were reported in children aged less than 5 years, compared with 42% (135/323) in 2011 and 78% (839/1075) in 2010. In 2012, more than 750,000 doses of National Immunisation Program childhood vaccines were distributed in Western Australia.
  • Healthcare providers made 74% of the reports.
  • Fax was used to report 42% of cases, 37% were received online, 14% by phone and 8% by regular post.
  • Further clinical evaluation was recommended for 22 cases.

Table 1 – Characteristics of adverse events following immunisation reported to WAVSS, by year of vaccination, 2011 vs 2012

 

2011

2012

Total reports received

323

290

Male
Female

130 (40%)
193 (60%)

126 (43%)
163 (56%)

Age: <5 years
5-17 years
18 years

135 (42%)
62 (19%)
126 (39%)

130 (45%)
55 (19%)
105 (36%)

Reporter type: Health provider
Parent/public
Other

257 (80%)
59 (18%)
7 (2%)

214 (74%)
66 (23%)
10 (3%)

Reported by: Fax
Online
Post
Telephone

149 (46%)
136 (42%)
16 (5%)
19 (6%)

121 (42%)
106 (37%)
22 (8%)
41 (14%)

Reports admitted to hospital
Reports attending ED

25 (8%)
46 (14%)

23 (8%)
62 (21%)

Attended clinic
Invited but failed to attend

20 (6%)
4 (1%)

18 (6%)
4 (1%)

Figure 1 – Reports of adverse events following immunisation, Western Australia, 2011-2012, by month of vaccination
Figure 1 – Reports of adverse events following immunisation, Western Australia, 2011-2012, by month of vaccination.

For more information visit the WAVVS website (external site) or email wavss@health.wa.gov.au

An adverse event following immunisation can be reported to WAVVS:

  • online (external site)
  • by telephone: (08) 9321 1312 (between 8.30am and 4.30pm)
  • by completing a WAVSS reporting form and returning it by:
  • Fax: (08) 9426 9408
  • Post: Central Immunisation Clinic, PO Box 8172, Perth Business Centre WA 6849.

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