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Over 600 children registered for swine flu trial in first week

Press release issued: 8 October 2009

More than 600 children have been registered to take part in the swine flu vaccine trial and almost 500 of these were vaccinated in the past week.

The study involving children aged 6 months to 12 years began a week ago at 5 sites (Bristol, Oxford, Southampton, Exeter and London) to test the two swine flu vaccines due to be used in the UK this winter.

Children are one of the age groups most vulnerable to swine flu infection, so it is vital that we obtain information on their response to these vaccines. By conducting this study, researchers hope to determine if one of the vaccines is better tolerated or more likely to protect children against swine flu than the other in this age group.

Millions of doses of two swine flu vaccines have been purchased for use in the UK by the Department of Health to control the expected outbreak this autumn, but information about their use in children is limited.

Although children are disproportionately affected by swine flu, only children in high risk groups and children who are household contacts of people in high risk groups will be offered the vaccine initially. If serious disease in healthy children increases then routine vaccination for all healthy children will be considered.

The study is being conducted with the Health Protection Agency and funded by the NHS National Institute for Health Research and has been adopted by the Medicines for Children Research Network.

Children who take part in the study receive two doses of a swine flu vaccine three weeks apart. Blood tests are performed (using a local anaesthetic cream) before and after the immunisation course to check the response to the vaccines.

Parents interested in enrolling their child in the study should visit the website for further information.

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