Pandemrix  Underlying conditions  Swine flu vaccine

13th December 2009
Children to get just half dose of swine flu vaccine
By Mail On Sunday Reporter

Children receiving the swine flu vaccination will now be given only half the original dosage in a single shot after fears it could cause a high fever.

The Government had previously recommended two separate 0.25ml doses of the Pandemrix vaccine, given three weeks apart.

But after warnings from the European medicines watchdog that the second dose could cause fevers of up to 38C (100F), the Government now recommends one 0.25ml dose for children under ten.

It is half the amount given to adults and older children but still enough to provide immunity.

Children with weakened immune systems will continue to get two doses of 0.25ml each.

The updated safety advice was disclosed days after the start of the second wave of the Government’s swine flu vaccination programme.

It aims to inoculate three million children aged between six months and five years – the group deemed most at risk of needing hospital treatment.

Meanwhile, the medicines watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), reported four people had died after receiving the Pandemrix vaccine, although all had serious underlying health conditions and the deaths are not being linked to the jab.

One baby died in the womb three weeks after its mother was given the jab and five women miscarried, although the incidents are being described as ‘coincidental’.

One person developed the paralysis condition Guillain-Barre Syndrome which was linked to a swine flu jab given in America in the Seventies.

The MHRA had received 1,506 reports of minor adverse reactions to Pandemrix such as swelling at the site of injection, nausea or ‘flu-like’ illness.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which recommended the dosage change, said that children could be given paracetamol if they developed a fever after vaccination. The Department of Health said that the vaccine remained safe