All children to be offered flu vaccines25th July 2012
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says all children and young people aged from two to 17 will offered a flu vaccine.
England's Chief Medical Officer told the BBC that offering the vaccine would result in significantly fewer numbers of deaths and hospitalisations, according to the results of a study by the Health Protection Agency and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
While flu jabs will still be given to people aged over 65 and those in high-risk groups, children and teenagers will be given a nasal spray version of the vaccine.
Professor Dame Sally Davies told the BBC's medical correspondent Fergus Walsh: "Even with moderate uptake of 30% it's estimated that this should result in 11,000 fewer hospitalisations and 2,000 fewer deaths each year."
"But we will aim to get a much higher proportion of children immunised and that will save even more lives."
The Department of Health is still working out the cost of the vaccine with its suppliers, AstraZeneca, and said it would not be able to provide the vaccines until 2014.
While children under the age of five will be given the spray at GP surgeries, older children and teenagers will be offered it at schools.
However the JCVI stated that there were currently too few school nurses to put this into practice.
Prof Adam Finn, consultant in paediatric infectious diseases at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, said: "This is a good idea as we know it's effective and safe and flu can be a serious illness in childhood, not just in old age."
"There should be time to do some more research before we introduce the vaccine to help us predict how well such a programme would be accepted and would work.
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Title: All children to be offered flu vaccines
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 22421
Date Added: 25th Jul 2012