Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Two-year-old with swine flu dies

Influenza Virus
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said cases of the virus were decreasing

There has been another death of a child in Northern Ireland who had swine flu.

The death of the two-year-old, who had underlying medical conditions, was announced in the Department of Health's weekly swine flu update.

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey expressed his "deepest sympathy" to the child's family.

To date, 17 people from Northern Ireland who had swine flu have died. Fifteen of them died in NI, one in England and one in Spain.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said cases of the virus were decreasing but people must remain vigilant.

"The public have a major role to play in this pandemic, not only looking after themselves, but those they come in contact with by getting the vaccine when it is offered to them," he said.

"It is the best way for people to be protected against swine flu."

On Tuesday the Department of Health said that after revising its policy children will no longer be given a second dose of the swine flu vaccine.

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 had been a higher rate of fever in young children following a second injection.

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