Child flu jab could protect all4th August 2008
Research has suggested that moves to vaccinate all children against flu would be a major step in preventing the spread of the virus through the whole population.
Experts from the Health Protection Agency say that an annual flu jab for the under fives could reduce some types of infection by up to 70% and in turn help protect the elderly.
The HPA say that children are "prolific spreaders" of flu because of their lower immunity and the time they spend in close proximity with family members.
In 2006 the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) decided not to follow the US approach of offering flu vaccination to children aged between six months and five years of age.
But following the latest study, which showed that the more children received the vaccination, the greater the protection was for the wider population, there are calls for a re-think of government policy.
The report indicated that there would be a drop of 90% in flu if everyone under 16 was vaccinated and a reduction of 11-35% if the under-twos were vaccinated.
Professor John Oxford, an expert in virology at Barts and The London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry said the evidence all seemed to be pointing towards a benefit but suggested the move would not be popular with parents in the UK.
The JCVI say it is keeping the issue under review and is awaiting the outcome of further studies being done on the effects of flu vaccine in children.
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Title: Child flu jab could protect all
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 7777
Date Added: 4th Aug 2008