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Southampton chosen for vital vaccine tests
Children enlisted for swine flu trial DOCTORS in Southampton are looking for 250 children to try out two new swine flu vaccines.
The city is one of five areas nationwide chosen to take part in the trial for youngsters aged between six months and 12-years-old.
Researchers want to find out which vaccine is more likely to protect against the virus and has the least side effects.
Dr Saul Faust is leading the trial of the two vaccines which are due to be used this winter and have possible side effects including aching arms and fever.
He said: “Children are one of the age groups most vulnerable to swine flu infection, so it is vital that we obtain information on their response to these vaccines.”
Youngsters who take part in the study would receive two doses of a swine flu vaccine three weeks apart at Southampton General Hospital.
Results during the six-week trial will be passed on to the Department of Health that will then decide which is the best childhood vaccine.
Both of the vaccines have already undergone stringent safety checks.
The government has said that only children in high-risk groups will initially be offered the vaccine automatically although there is no start date for the programme as GPs must wait until The European Medicines Agency has licensed the vaccines.
Nationally there have been 79 deaths across the UK from swine flu, including Itchen College student Madelynne Butcher who was only 18, from the Sholing, area of the city.
Parents interested in enrolling their children in the study that begins on October 3 should call 023 8079 6322 or log onto the www.swineflutrial.org
The Department of Health has already ordered millions of doses of two swine flu vaccines ahead of an expected surge in cases later this year.
But GPs must wait until The European Medicines Agency has licensed the vaccines before they can administer the jabs.
A Department of Health spokesman was unable to confirm when the vaccination programme – that will earn GP surgeries £5.25 per dose– would begin.
Those first in the queue to get the swine flue jab will be those aged six months to 65 in at-risk groups – including people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or with a weak immune system.
They will be followed by all pregnant women subject to licensing arrangements on the most suitable trimester to give the jab.
Next to get the vaccine will be people living in households with patients with weak immune systems followed by anyone over 65 in a conventional at-risk group.
Frontline health and social care workers will also get the jab.