Swine flu latest - next vaccinations due

PUBLISHED: 10:01 10 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 25 May 2010

DOCTORS across North Somerset are preparing to start the next stage of swine flu jabs to vaccinate children aged under five.

DOCTORS across North Somerset are preparing to start the next stage of swine flu jabs to vaccinate children aged under five.

A total of 24 surgeries across the district have confirmed their arrangements for giving the inoculation.

NHS North Somerset director of public health Becky Pollard said: "Thankfully the number of cases of swine flu across the UK has diminished considerably. "However we would urge parents to have their children vaccinated.

"The deadline for completion of the programme is January and it's important to stress that the vaccine is safe for children and that any parent wishing to have them vaccinated should contact their surgery to make the necessary arrangements.

"Monitoring of the pandemic so far shows that otherwise healthy children who catch swine flu are more likely than those in other age groups to need admitting to hospital and significant numbers require critical care.

"There have also, tragically, been some deaths.

"We urge parents to get their children vaccinated, because it is the best way of protecting them against swine flu."

Following new advice from independent scientific experts, youngsters are being offered one dose of the vaccine, equating to half an adult dose.

Only those children whose immune system is compromised, by HIV or cancer treatment for example, will be given two doses.

Side effects of the swine flu jab are similar to those from other vaccinations given in childhood, and can include swelling around the site of the injection, a sore arm or fever.

Parents are being advised to monitor and give infant paracetamol products as appropriate.

Anyone who feels they may have swine flu can call the helpline on 0800 1 513 100.

People who have symptoms will be given a unique access number and told where their nearest antiviral collection point is.

They should then ask a flu friend, a friend or relative who does not have swine flu, to go and pick up their medicine from their nearest collection point.

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