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Study of new swine flu vaccines looks for children from the local area to take part

Published: 24 September 2009

Paediatricians at the University of Southampton are looking for 250 children to take part in a study of the two swine flu vaccines due to be used in the UK this winter.

The study, being conducted by the University of Southampton Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust in collaboration with the University of Oxford, Health Protection Agency, University of Bristol, St George’s Medical School London and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust, will enrol children aged six months to 12 years from the beginning of October.

By conducting this study, researchers hope to determine if one of the vaccines is better tolerated or more likely to protect against swine flu than the other in this age group.

The study is being led in Southampton by Dr Saul Faust, who emphasised its importance, saying: “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. This study will help in decisions about which vaccine will be best for protecting children.”

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

Children who are in at-risk groups will be prioritised for vaccine, which is why it’s important to see which of the vaccines offers the best protection..

The research is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research and has been adopted by the Medicines for Children Research Network.

Children who take part in the study would receive two doses of a swine flu vaccine three weeks apart at Southampton General Hospital. A blood test would be taken (using a local anaesthetic cream) before and after the immunisation course to check their response to the vaccines.

Parents interested in enrolling their child in this study should visit the www.swineflutrial.org website for further information.

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