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‘No safety issue’ with swine flu vaccine says expert
THE man in charge of the swine flu vaccination trials that took place in Southampton has said there is no safety reason why parents should avoid getting their child immunised.
Dr Saul Faust oversaw the pilot trial last year that involved 250 Southampton children before the decision was made by the Department of Health to roll out the vaccination nationwide.
He was speaking after The Daily Echo launched the campaign Do It For Andrew to encourage Hampshire parents to get their children vaccinated against the virus before Wednesday, when it will no longer be available to healthy children aged six months to five years.
Children with underlying health conditions can still get the vaccine after that date if they contact their GP.
Toddler Andrew McCall, from Lower Duncan Road, Park Gate, died in his cot on Christmas morning when he was just 23 months old.
His parents Sarah-Jane and Iain have backed the campaign and urged all parents to ensure their child is immunised.
Dr Faust, a senior lecturer in paediatric infectious diseases, said the decision to offer the jab to all children wouldn’t have been taken unless it was safe.
“It was identified that the rate of hospital admissions for children under five was much higher and so they were identified as a high risk group.
“As with everything people have to assess the risk for themselves but we think it is a good vaccine. We know that as a result of the trials apart from minor reactions there were no major reactions to the vaccine.”
Children who took part in the study received two doses of a swine flu vaccine three weeks apart at Southampton General Hospital.
A blood test was taken before and after the immunisation course to check their response to the vaccines.
The results have not yet been published but are expected to be in the next few weeks.