Following the decision in October to include all pregnant women in the first priority list for the swine flu vaccine, it has now been decided that all small children should be included in the second wave of vaccinations.
Initially it was believed that only children who had other serious medical conditions would get the vaccine. However, after some analysis of those people worst affected by contracting swine flu, the authorities have decided that babies over six months and children under five years should all be invited to have the jab.
This is because the majority of swine flu sufferers who end up having to go to hospital are infants.
It is important to note that NO vaccine is compulsory, but do discuss any reasons you might avoid allowing your child to be inoculated with your GP. In most cases, any vaccination for an illness is generally regarded as preferable to the risk of complications from contracting the illness itself.
Official swine flu advice
The Department for Health has information on its website that is useful for the whole family to read, but it is of particular interest to those groups currently deemed to be most 'at risk', which include children under five years of age, and women in pregnancy. To read this advice, go to www.dh.gov.uk.
There is a dedicated Swine Flu Pandemic website if you have any queries or concerns about or are showing symptoms of swine flu.
I think I've got swine flu, what now?
The symptoms of swine flu are usually similar to those of regular human seasonal flu: fever and a cough, tiredness, headache, aching muscles, runny nose, sore throat, nausea or diarrhoea.
In most cases the patient recovers within a week.
For dedicated advice, go to www.direct.gov.uk. Or go to the Swine Flu Pandemic website and use their online symptom checker.