A TODDLER taken to the doctor for a child’s flu shot was left unable to walk or talk after being given a version of the drug banned for under fives.
Lachlan Neylan suffered severe brain damage, including seizures and swelling of the brain, known as encephalopathy, after a GP accidentally administered the CSL Fluvax shot in March last year.
His parents Stacey and Adrian Neylan said Lachlan’s temperature soared and he began having fits within seven hours of receiving the injection.
“He just collapsed and started to have seizures,” Mr Neylan said. “Doctors said they thought our son wouldn’t make it through the weekend. It was terrifying.”
Mr Neylan said before the injection their son had been a “walking, talking toddler”, but after the injection “he was back to being a three month old; he couldn’t sit, walk, or use his arms”.
While other flu vaccines are approved for children, Lachlan, was given the contraindicated Fluvax, which was banned for children under five in 2010 after mass injections triggered febrile convulsions in one in every 100 children; 10 times the expected rate.
The family said they were concerned doctors were still using Fluvax on children, despite the ban. A spokesperson for the Department of Health said there had been “43 confirmed notifications of CSL Fluvax being administered to children under five years of age in Australia” this year. The GP in question has admitted error and the government’s adverse events report also admits the error.
“This was a mistake, and the doctor has admitted it, but it is still happening and we don’t want anyone else to go through what we have been through,” Mr Neylan said.
The Neylan family has moved to Sydney to be close to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and their rented western Sydney home has been turned into a rehabilitation centre for Lachlan, now three years old and learning to crawl again.
The family is frustrated they have to foot the bill for the rehabilitation as they are yet to receive any compensation. The medical insurance company is arguing over damages. “He has a young, developing brain and we have to make the most of that neuroplasticity,” Mr Neylan said.