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Millions of UK parents 'invited' to get kids vaccinated

Millions of healthy children to be given swine flu jab
Three million children under five are to vaccinated against swine flu after a dramatic rise in serious cases in youngsters.
Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor
5:16PM GMT 19 Nov 2009

Children under five are three times more likely to be admitted to hospital than any other age group and in some areas of the country paediatric intensive care beds are filling up, Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer said.

As a result, parents of children aged between six months and five years will soon be sent letters inviting them to take their children to their local GP's surgery for vaccination.

The vaccine is voluntary however, and parents can choose not to send their child for the injection. It is known that some parents have concern about its safety, despite the World Health Organisation insisting that it is safe.

Currently only people with long-term illnesses, pregnant women and front line health workers are being vaccinated.

It was expected that children would be the next in line for vaccinations, but experts were assessing which age group would benefit most from the jab.

Independent experts said offering the vaccine more widely to healthy children was the 'next logical step'.

"This is obviously a personal choice but I would advise all parents whose children are offered the vaccine to take it up. If you are worried, please talk to your GP and get all the information so that you can make an informed choice."