Dr Richard Halvorsen

offering vaccine choice

A new study confirms low risk of swine flu to healthy childrenHealthy children have little to fear from swine flu. That is the finding of a study published today by the Lancet medical journal. A total of 70 children died in England during the epidemic between June 2009 and March 2010. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of these children already had medical disorders which put them at much greater risk. The risk to a healthy white child of dying from swine flu was around 1 in a million - an exceptionally low risk. Remarkably, children from Pakistani or Bangladeshi families were ten times more likely to die form swine flu than white children, but even then the risk was small. The good news for children with asthma is that this did not increase the risk at all.
The flu jab being offered this season contains the swine flu strain. How does this information help inform us about who should be vaccinated this autumn? My advice would be for healthy children to steer well clear of the vaccine. However, it is worth considering for children with chronic health problems, particularly for those from Pakistani or Bangladeshi families.

Added 26Oct 2010