All children under five to be offered swine flu jab

The UK swine flu vaccination programme is to be expanded to include all children under the age of five, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended.

The JCVI now recommends that children aged six months and under five be vaccinated. (Photo credit SPL)

This comes after data from the Health Protection Agency revealed that the under fives are more likely than other age groups to be hospitalised if they become ill with swine flu.

Speaking at a briefing in central London today, Sir Liam Donaldson, the CMO for England, said that this month had seen a large increase in the number of children under five who had been hospitalised for the virus.

‘The JCVI now recommends that children aged six months and under five be vaccinated. But the JCVI still believes that a school-based programme is not warranted.'

Sir Liam said that he expects GPs to be responsible for administering the vaccine to the 2.7 million healthy children added to the programme, although negotiations with the GPC are currently ongoing.

Ian Dalton, DoH director for flu resilience for England, added that the priority remained to vaccinate all the priority group patients before moving on to vaccinating healthy under fives.

Additionally, an estimated 1.5 - 5 million carers will also be offered the jab, once the priority groups have been vaccinated.


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