Flu jab toddler Ashley  Jade Epapara dies

David and Nicole Epapara with their children. Source: The Sunday Mail (Qld)

A FAMILY is in mourning after their toddler unexpectedly died less than 12 hours after receiving a seasonal flu vaccination.

Two-year-old twin Ashley Jade Epapara had been “perfectly fine” before dying at her Upper Mt Gravatt home, on Brisbane’s southside, on April 9.   Parents David and Nicole are shattered by the mysterious death of their baby girl. “It’s dreadful, it’s a very hard time,” Mr Epapara said yesterday.

National health authorities have ordered doctors to stop giving seasonal influenza vaccinations to children under five after dozens of serious reactions, including convulsions.  Ashley’s death is being investigated by police and the office of the coroner. A spokesman for Brisbane coroner John Lock confirmed yesterday that a report was being prepared.

Mrs Epapara told The Sunday Mail that “tests are being carried out” on her little girl.But the young mother didn’t want to comment further as she began shaking and her eyes welled with tears.  Ashley’s twin sister, Jaime, also received the flu jab at the same time and is believed to have been vomiting the night before her sister died.  Asked whether he or his wife thought the influenza vaccine had anything to do with their child’s death, Mr Epapara said: “It’s very coincidental.”

More than 45 children experienced convulsions and fever, with some having to be taken to hospital in intensive care after receiving the vaccine in Western Australia.  Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Jim Bishop said in a statement that the West Australian events were being “urgently investigated by health experts and the Therapeutic Goods Administration”.  The World Health Organisation last year said a “small number of deaths” had occurred in people vaccinated for influenza, with 65 million people vaccinated globally.

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young today said she is unaware of any toddler dying as a direct result of receiving a 2010 seasonal flu vaccination.  Dr Young has responded via a statement and dismisses any knowledge of a death related to flu vaccinations.  “Until now, neither Queensland Health nor the relevant national body had been advised of, or were aware of any death allegedly related to a 2010 seasonal flu vaccination in Queensland,” Dr Young said in a statement issued today.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to this family at this time.
“Queensland Health is working closely with the Coroner on this matter.”

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