Families are growingly skeptical of flu vaccine despite frightening number of deaths recorded from the infection last year.

In 2010 Saba Button was a healthy 11-month-old toddler when she was left fighting for her young life just hours after receiving a flu shot.

Her parents Kirsten and Mick were told to say their goodbyes the next day, as she became ‘totally despondent’ and her organs began to shut down, shares Daily Mail.

The girl from Perth survived but suffered a permanent brain injury as a result of prolonged seizures, and remains under constant care today.

Mother Kristen said her daughter had just begun to walk and talk before taking her for a flu shot on the recommendation of the health department, Nine News reported.

‘We were told all her organs shut down and we were told to come and say goodbye to our little girl,’ Ms Button said at the time.

‘She’s no longer able to walk, no longer able to say the words ‘mumma, dadda and nanna’ that she had prior to this happening. She can no longer eat by mouth.’

The Western Australian government suspended its seasonal flu vaccination program in 2010 after dozens of other adverse reactions in children were reported . (Read more on that here)

Reactions are rare

Serious adverse reactions to the influenza vaccine are rare, with most common reactions being local redness and swelling.

Other mild symptoms including headache, mild fever and sore muscles may occur in 1-10% of people vaccinated but are limited to 24-48 hours.

Allergic reactions may occur in people with a severe egg allergy, but may receive the influenza vaccine after consultation with their GP.

Please note: It is important to remember this happened over eight years ago, and the vaccine has significantly changed over that time.

 Watch the video below of the families interview in 2010

People are skeptical of the vaccine

There were 1,100 influenza-associated deaths recorded in 2017.

Despite those worrying figures, levels of flu vaccine skepticism are on the rise, according to a Finder.com.au survey.

The survey took the opinions of more than 2,000 adults and found that half of them are not planning on receiving the jab this year.

The main reason people gave for not receiving the shot is that they believe it makes them sick or that it doesn’t work.

Generation X were found to be the most suspicious of the vaccine, with 18 per cent thinking it doesn’t work, while only 10 per cent of younger people subscribe to this view.

Baby Boomers are the most proactive with 72 per cent planning on having the shot, according to the survey. About 39 per cent of Generation Y said they will be vaccinated.

What the experts say

Dr Daria Fielder said the vaccine itself cannot cause the flu, although recipients may still become sick.

‘Influenza vaccine is an inactive vaccine and therefore it is unable to give you the flu,’ she told news.com.au.

‘In an ideal world, of course it would be better if everyone receives vaccination. If only some are vaccinated, the virus will continue to spread in the community.’

Department of Health figures have found cases of influenza are already 19 per cent higher than last year, with 12,000 cases already being confirmed.

Meanwhile, two ground-breaking flu vaccines are now available for free to Australians aged 65 and over.

Health authorities introduced the ‘super vaccines’ targeted at this age group in response to last year’s deadly flu season.

Dr Brett Sutton, Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, has shared his thoughts below….

We know influenza is a highly contagious viral infection, spread by contact with fluids from coughs and sneezes.

Typically, Australia’s annual flu season occurs between April and October. For the best possible protection this year, my advice to all Victorians is to be vaccinated anytime from mid-April onwards. This should ensure they are protected by the time the disease begins to spread more widely in the community.

In Victoria this season for the first time we are providing free influenza immunisation to babies and children from 6 months to under 5 years of age. Two doses, given a minimum of one month apart, are required for those children receiving the vaccine for the first time.

Our children require special protection from flu, especially babies and toddlers because they are too young to know how to cover their coughs and sneezes, need help to keep little faces and hands clean and can’t even pronounce cough etiquette, let alone practice it.

A specially formulated junior dose of the influenza vaccine will be provided to children from 6 months to under three years of age.

Children aged 3 to 4 years can receive the regular vaccine.

To be fully protected this winter children need the appropriate vaccine and doses for their age.

Talk to your GP, your local council immunisation service or community health clinic about when the influenza vaccine will be available.

And remember, any child over five years of age is also eligible for free influenza vaccine if they have a high risk medical condition that increases their risk of complications if they catch the flu.

For people under 65 and without significant existing medical conditions, getting vaccinated at any time is perfectly okay.

No one should miss an opportunity to be vaccinated if it has already been already scheduled.

The record number of flu notifications last year in Victoria alone is a timely reminder about the importance of vaccination – there were more than 48,000 cases – and tragically, a number of deaths were reported.

Already, preparations are underway to provide influenza immunisations for a number of key groups in the community. This year, we expect to make more than one million doses of vaccine available.

Our message this winter is simple: ‘You never forget the flu – don’t forget your flu shot.’

Flu vaccinations save lives

When more people are vaccinated, fewer people become ill or suffer life-threatening complications from influenza.

The flu is not like a cold. Symptoms last on average one to two weeks but for some it takes several weeks to recover. It kills more than 3,500 Australians each year.

Some of us are more vulnerable to complications and are eligible for the free flu vaccine – the over 65’s, pregnant women, children under five, people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin and anyone with a weakened immune system Also, those with chronic conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes and chronic neurological conditions should all be immunised.

People aged 65 years and over will receive a specially formulated flu vaccine that potentially increases their protection especially against one strain of influenza that is more common and severe in the elderly.

All these groups were among those who were affected by flu last year.

And remember, we all have the potential to spread flu to these at risk groups.

Do what you can to avoid getting and sharing the flu – wash your hands thoroughly, cough into your elbow and get a shot in the arm.

If you’re really sick, stay away from work and other places where you’ll spread the flu. And don’t send ill children to school. They can sometimes be the ‘super-spreaders’ of diseases such as influenza.

Influenza vaccine will be available from general practitioners. Many of our pharmacies are also able to provide flu vaccines as well as advice about the disease.
If you’ve got the flu, visit your doctor, talk to a pharmacist or phone Nurse-On- Call on 1300 60 60 24 – 24 hours a day. Victoria also has 12 Supercare Pharmacies open 24/7.

Everyone needs to prepare for the coming flu season.

We also recently shared: What You Need to Know About Kids and The Flu Vaccine

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  • I didnt get my flu shot this year. I did however have 4 covid shots and although exposed to covid twice I didnt get it. I did get Influenza A after being exposed and honestly it near killed me. I am asthmatic and live on my own. Influenza A hit on a Sunday. I phoned my boss to say I wouldnt be able to work the following day. I slept all day and worried that I wouldnt sleep that night but I did. If I sat up or stood I was super dizzy and felt like I was going to pass out. I had to crawl to the toilet. I had to hold on to the wall while on the toilet for fear of falling off. I had no energy to get out to my kitchen to get anything to eat. For two days I didnt eat at all and drinking was becoming harder. Tuesday I was very close to calling an ambulance due to being so weak and struggling to breathe. My work mates wife sent me a text message to say she was dropping homemade chciken soup at my front door. She alos left a few grocery items. I forced myself to the front door to bring these items in and decided as the soup was still hot I would have some. I managed half a cup and then went straight back to bed. That night I managed another half a cup and I seriously believe thats what started me back on the road to recovery.
    Next year I will get my flu shot.


  • I get the flu shot every year and have been doing so now for over 30 years. I have never had the flu so I haven’t infected anyone else. Hoorah for me. But there is a clear choice with the flu – get the shot or not. If you don’t get the shot and die from the flu [or from complications from having the flu] then you only have yourself to blame for yourself or whomever you have stopped from having this vaccine. This little girl way back in 2010 could have just as easily died from contracting the flu as obviously her immune system just wasn’t as good as it should have been for whatever reason.


  • My family has the flu vaccine every year and it is especially important this year as my husband is having chemo. I’m the only one who’s ever had a reaction and it is only mild. I get redness around the area and it also gets very hot and tender. The symptoms disappear after 24 hours. Definitely worth it for us.


  • The kids who were affected in WA in 2010 all received doses from the same batch which was found to be contaminated. Not only did safety procedures improve dramatically because of it, this brand isn’t even available anymore. Vaccines are extremely safe and effective.


  • My family has now had our flu vaccinations.


  • Bet the anti-vaxers are having a field day with this one. As the article says reactions are rare and probably less frequent than the number of deaths from the flu.


  • It’s horrifying to think this happened in a first world country only a couple of years ago! What was this doctor thinking….


  • We are about to book in for our flu vaccines. My son has priority with his asthama and I do due to the fact I had swine flu. I’m all for being protected.


  • People do not die from the flu they die from complications after the flu. The only real way to protect yourself is to stop eating and using poisons that your body is trying to expel all the time. Keep healthy and fit. There are more people dying from complications of being overweight than the flu, but they keep saying the flu is the killer, many more diseases are a problem and nothing is done about educating people about eating healthier. More transparency on the ingredients of vaccines for the public and real research not tainted ones is also needed.

    • So true !

      • Being healthy, fit and strong us definitely the best way to fight any infection. But the elderly, babies and those with compromised immunity need the vaccines against diseases as their bodies are incapable of fighting off infection. As for studies into vaccines and their products ingredients, there are plenty. Most additives to vaccines are minute and they’re added to prolong the shelf life and to also make them more easily absorbed into our body. It’s a tiny minority of the population have bad/serious reactions to vaccines. The vast majority are safely protected for life. I think the fact that many of these infectious diseases are now barely in existence is proof enough of the benefits of vaccines. It’s sad that some have bad reactions, even sadder to watch a baby suffer and maybe die from a disease that could be saved if vaccinated

      • There are plenty of articles and news stories about the dangers of eating badly, lots promoting healthy eating. You would need to be living under a rock to not know what’s good for you to eat and what’s not


  • I really think it’s irresponsible of MoMs to publish a story like this. From what I’ve seen, most on here back vaccines 100%. The anti vaxxers don’t need any help

    • It started off saying how one child was damaged by a vaccine and then followed through with all the information about why you should get the vaccine, hardly and anti-vaccine article.

      • But most people would take away from this article “child nearly dies, is left severely disabled after flu vaccine.” That is what anti vaxxers would take away from this, and spread it around, they wouldn’t bother with the other comments supporting the vaccine. Anti vaxxers facts are based on the tiny minority that have serious effects, like this article


  • I wonder if ths was really related, or jst their belief?

    • There are many many stories from people who have children that are damaged from vaccines, a perfect healthy child is suddenly catatonic after a vaccine, and no one can say why. Might have something to do with the toxic chemicals in vaccines effecting the brains of these children.

      • And yet, there is no proof that these lids have been “injured” by a vaccine. When you start throwing around words like ‘toxic chemicals’ it becomes clear that you don’t understand the science behind them. Anything can be toxic in the wrong dose (even water) – dosage makes the poison. As for chemicals, literally so many things including water are classified as such. The headline for this article is misleading and gives the impression that what happened to this poor girl definitively resulted from the flu vaccine. After reading the article its clearly a case of people using correlation=causation which isn’t always true and can be a dangerous assumption to make.

      • So called toxic chemicals are found everywhere, even in our foods. As mentioned above, the dosage is what makes it poison. The amount of additives in vaccines is minimal, not enough to cause damage in the majority of the population. Sure, it’s possible some kids may have a bad reaction to these additives, but they’re in the tiniest minority. Most are safely protected from killer diseases. Sure, it would be sad to have a child who suffers a bad reaction, but it’s a lot worse watching a small child suffer from a disease such as whooping cough when it could have been prevented


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