University of Oxford paediatricians 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 Oxford in collaboration with the Health Protection Agency, Bristol’s Children’s Vaccine Centre, St Georges Vaccine Institute, the University of Southampton Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust will enrol children aged 6 months to 12 years from the end of September.
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 Oxford by Professor Andrew Pollard of the Oxford Vaccine Group, 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 study 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 Oxford Children's 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.