Letter to the editor
Editor, – I was disappointed to read the editorial on H1N1 vaccination (Aust Prescr 2010;33:30-1), especially when the National Prescribing Service states that the publication is evidence-based and peer reviewed.
In particular, the article states: 'In the past, many infections, such as Staphylococcus aureus, hepatitis B and HIV, have been caused by vaccination programs using multi dose vials'. From my limited research, I am not aware of any past documented infections associated with general practice vaccination programs in Australia (as we are predominately using for H1N1 vaccination), nor any documentation of hepatitis B or HIV infections from any vaccination programs. Reference two in the editorial does not back up his claim it in fact refers to the author's own article which has no comment on transmission of disease from multi dose vials.
In addition, I question the balance of the author when discussing influenza vaccination. He quoted only one study that 'showed that the decrease in all-cause mortality attributable to seasonal influenza vaccine was 4.6%', without noting the limitations of this study, nor referring to the wide body of international evidence supporting influenza vaccination, including those referenced in the 9th edition of the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
Although it is fair to comment that we would benefit from more effective influenza vaccines, and that policy makers must carefully review pandemic planning, including the role of multi dose vials, I do not believe that the debate is assisted by claims that are not correctly referenced, nor highlighting of single studies. I would also question whether this editorial is consistent with the National Prescribing Service's claim to 'provide accurate, balanced, evidence-based information'.
Riddell Country Practice
Riddells Creek, Vic.
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- The Geelong disaster. Med J Aust 1970;1:401-2.
- Collignon P. Why can't we have a rational discussion about the merits of pandemic flu vaccination? 2009 Aug 31.http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2009/08/31/why-cant-we-have-a-rational-discussion-about-the-merits-of-pandemic-flu-vaccination/[cited 2010 May 3]
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