Page last updated at 14:16 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Change to swine flu jab advice

Doctor administers swine flu vaccine
Health workers have been instructed to vaccinate healthy children just once.

Healthy children will no longer be given a second dose of the swine flu vaccine, after the NI Department of Health revised its policy.

The change follows new advice from the European Medicines Agency.

Children aged between six months and 10 years who do not suffer from underlying health problems will now be given one vaccine dose instead of two.

It is understood there has been a higher rate of fever in young children following a second injection.

The Department of Health sent a letter to GPs outlining the change almost two weeks ago.

However younger patients who have a weaker immune system and are susceptible to viral infections will continue to be given two doses of the vaccine.

To date, 16 people from Northern Ireland - including several children - have died after contracting the virus.

The latest person to die was a nine-year-old child who had underlying health conditions.

The death was announced last Thursday as part of the Department's weekly swine flu update.

The figures also showed that the number of people who were treated in hospital suffering from the virus had decreased, as had the number of people who had contacted their doctor with flu or flu-like symptoms.

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