The swine flu jab or vaccination was introduced to help protect children and adults, especially those who are particularly vulnerable, from contracting the H1N1 swine flu virus. The fact that it was introduced quite quickly, and after limited testing, worries some parents, and has led to questions over its safety.
What is the Swine Flu Jab?
The swine flu jab or vaccination was rushed into production after the H1N1, or swine flu virus, became apparent in the UK.
There are two different versions of the swine flu vaccine. The first is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and is called Pandemrix and the second is made by Baxter and is called Celvapan. Both are made using the same technology as normal flu vaccines and are said to have gone through similar tests to ensure they are safe and effective.
The GSK Pandemrix vaccine has what is called an accelerator in it. This is made from a combination of fish oil and vitamin E and it does cause a stronger immune system response when it’s injected. The sore arm and flu-like reaction that some children have, and which worries many parents, is caused by the accelerator in this vaccine. Although neither symptom is very pleasant, both should ease off after a while.
As another safety issue, it’s also worth noting that for any children with Severe AllergiesTo Eggs, Pandemrix isn’t a safe swine flu jab option, but Celvapan is.
What Dosage of Vaccine is Given to Children?
The amount of swine flu vaccine that children receive depend in part on their age. According to the vaccination schedule, which is based on advice provided by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations, children receive the following doses of vaccines.
Pandemrix – healthy children aged over six months of age and below 10 years receive a single dose of 0.25ml.
Celvapan – all children aged over six months and under 10 years old receive two doses of 0.5ml, which are given at least three weeks apart.
The doses of Pandemrix vaccine are slightly different for children whose immune systems are compromised in any way; if you have particular queries, then discuss it with your GP or medical professional.
Does My Child Need the Swine Flu Vaccine?
Cases of swine flu seem to have eased off, compared to the numbers when it first hit, so it’s not unusual for you to wonder whether your child really does need to have the vaccine. Although it seems to be quite mild, it’s though that the H1N1 virus will be hanging around for many years and it’s still possible that it could mutate and become a more dangerous virus.
According to medical professionals, their advice remains that it’s better for children to immunised as a protective measure, rather than put them at risk.
As parents, it’s only natural to worry about your children’s health and what is best for them, but by reading up on the facts about the swine flu vaccine and talking to medical professionals, you can weigh up the pros and cons and decide for yourself whether it’s right for your child.