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Parents should ensure children get swine flu jab says Noeleen McFarland
Andrew McCall gazes in wonder at the family tree on Christmas Eve – just a few hours before he died from swine flu.
Hampshire parents have been told to protect their children and make sure they have the swine flu jab before it’s too late.
The Daily Echo launched the Do It For Andrew campaign last week urging parents to get their healthy children vaccinated against the killer virus to stop any more tragic deaths in the county.
Noeleen McFarland, a public health expert for NHS Hampshire, revealed the jab has been through strict tests before its licence was granted if any parents are worried about its safety.
Now she has warned residents that although the immediate threat of swine flu has gone down, the deadly disease is expected to be back next flu season.
All parents have been told to take their children aged between six months and five years to their GP for the vaccine before they will no longer be available nationally in just five days time.
She said: “All new vaccines must go through strict procedures before a licence enabling their use is granted. Licences for the swine flu vaccinations were granted by the European Medicines Agency after these procedures had been followed. The same process is followed when a new vaccination against seasonal flu is licensed each year.”
Her words come after 23-month-old toddler Andrew McCall from Park Gate died on Christmas morning.
His parents Sarah-Jane and Iain found him dead in his cot after putting him to bed on Christmas Eve with no symptoms and are now determined to make a difference so no other parents have to go through the same tragedy.
Mrs McFarland said: “While the immediate threat of swine flu has diminished, it is expected to be circulating next flu season and we would therefore encourage parents to take the opportunity to have their very young children vaccinated, in order to protect them in the future.”
The Department of Health revealed although numbers remain small patients continue to be hospitalised and admitted to critical care facilities.
There have been ten more confirmed swine flu deaths in England since the beginning of March. The vaccination programme for healthy children will stop on Wednesday, March 31.
Contact your GP surgery or, depending on where you live, ring NHS Southampton City on 023 8029 6904 or NHS Hants on 023 8062 7444.