Swine flu webchat Mon 23 Nov 1.30-2.30pm

Worried about swine flu? Not sure whether to have the vaccine in pregnancy? Concerned about it affecting your unborn baby, or toddler? Join us on Monday 23 Nov between 1.30-2.30 when the Government's Swine Flu advisor Dr David Salisbury will be joining us to answer all your queries.
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  • Thank you Dr Salisbury for doing this webchat.

    My little boy is 22 months old, and healthy with no history of illness, alergies etc. He hasn't had any chilhood illnesses, just a couple of vomiting bugs and a few colds since he was born. He is looked after at home by a nanny (sole care) during the 3 days a week that I am at work, and I look after him, for the rest of the week and with my husband at weekends. We don't have any other children. He socialises regularly with other children at classes, toddler groups and with friends.

    I expect that soon he will be offered the swine flu vaccine.

    As he is healthy (though he does have a very heavy cold and cough at the moment, but I think thats typical for the time of year), should he have the vaccine?

    Rhian
  • Hello Dr David Salisbury

    I have recently discovered that I am pregnant and also have a small child.We will both be eligible for the swine flu vaccine.

    I realise that pregnant women and small children are more at risk.I had decided that the vaccine is a good idea until Dr. Hilary Jones was on GMTV last week and said the he wouldn't advice pregnant ladies to have the vaccine !! Now this had left me very confused and I feel I am in an impossible situation.

    Why are some doctors advising against it ?
  • Hi Dr David Sailsbury,

    I have just found out that I am pregnant again and also have a 3 yr old daughter and like MLM Im now worried about having the swine flu vaccine as Dr Hillary Jones advised against it, also my daughter seems to pick up colds, bugs etc all the time. She was also trated for swine flue a few months ago & really dont know if I should have her vaccinated, her dad is against it but im in 2 minds.

    What do you advise for us both?
  • Hi

    I wonder if you can help me. My daughter was born with a medical condition called Left Isomerism. One of her symptoms is a lack of Spleen. Should she have the Swine Flu jab? And is it safe?

    She is due for an operation on her intestines next week, how long after this beore we can safely give her the jab if so? And does it have to be a certain amount of time after the seasonal flu jab?

    She is 6 months old.
    Thanks for your help

  • Dear Dr

    Many thanks for this opportunity to discuss our concerns given the media 'hype' over this vaccine and TV doctors like Dr Hilary Jones going against national and WHO guidelines and advising PW not to get the vaccine, you can understand why we have concerns. Can you alleviate pregnant womens' fears about getting this vaccine, I am convinced we should get the vaccine but am aware of PW main concerns detailed below. We are aware that there are proven significant risks to ourselves and our unborn babies from swine flu particularly in the later stages of pregnancy but we are concerned that the vaccine cannot be tested in pregnant women so the effects of the vaccine on unborn babies is 'unknown' at this time, although am i correct in saying that similar flu vaccines (i.e. seasonal flu) with similar ingredients have been given to pregnant women in the past and have had not caused problems to unborn babies? The SF info from our GPs, NHS websites etc state that the vaccine is safe for pregnant but the leaflets tend to be a bit vague on effects on the unborn baby. On a personal note, i am 11 weeks pregnant, would i be better to wait another week or 2 until i am over 12 weeks when the risk of miscarriage etc is lower before i get the vaccine (I am supposed to go for my vaccine this evening) particularly since the risks from SF seem to be more severe in later pregnancy i feel i can delay the vaccine for a week or two (although i appreciate it can 2 weeks after the vaccine for me to be protected from SF so wouldn't want to wait much longer as we are heading into flu season)?

    Many thanks
  • We are pleased to welcome Prof David Salisbury to Babyexpert to answer your queries on swine flu.
    Please note that Prof Salisbury is only able to answer questions relating to swine flu, and we therefore reserve the right to edit other queries that may be posted. Thanks, Web Ed
  • Hi - we've just been informed that Prof Salisbury is running approx 10 minutes late. Please bear with us, I'm sure he'll be here shortly! Thanks, Web Ed
  • Hello. If I choose not to have the swine flu jab but my husband does (being asthmatic and therefore a high risk) - am I more likely to get it? After he had his normal flu jab last year I came down with flu as well. So worried that I might get symptons.
  • i should mention that i don't normally believe media hype and advice from a 'TV doctor' over expert guidelines eyc but it does put some doubts in our mind
  • Hello, thank you for inviting me along to this webchat. I'm ready to start and so Rihan2, let me begin with your question.

    You ask if your healthy 22month yr old son should have swine flu vaccine when it is offered. We are still seeing that the under fives are particularly affected by swine flu. They have no immunity to flu in general, and certainly not to this virus. As a consequence, we are seeing particularly high hospital admission rates in the under fives and a very high proportion of those children who are being admitted to intensive care were fully healthy without risk factors. So on that basis, yes I do recommend that your little boy is vaccinated. The other side of the coin that I am frequently asked is if the vaccine has been tested in children and the answer is yes. The vaccine that your little boy will be offered has been tested in children as young as six months through the manufacturers own studies and we have also been studying the vaccine through our researchers in this country. The safety profile is good and so for both sides of the equation, i would say, yes, go ahead.
  • I have a 18mth old little girl and I am in two minds whether to give her the swine flu jab - she has got an appointment on Wednesday. Please can you tell me how long does the vaccine work, is there any serious sideeffects and does it stop swine flu or just make the symptoms less serious? Many thanks

  • MLM says that she is pregnant and had decided to have the vaccine until Dr Hilary Jones was on GMTV last week. He phoned me after he had been on the television to ask about the scientific situation concerning the vaccine and pregnant women, and I think, he went on the TV the next day and said that he did not mean to cause any anxiety and that there were not concerns about the safety of the vaccine.

    I believe that the evidence that says that pregnant women should be vaccinated is good and I don't see reasons why they should not have the vaccine.

    Please go back to your original idea!
  • Kirgem, hopefully you will have seen my answer to MLM on pregnancy & Dr Hilary Jones

    If your daughter had a laboratory test that confirms she had swine flu, then she does not need to be vaccinated. If it wasn't confirmed, and she did actually have it, being vaccinated won't do any harm. If she did not have it, then she will be protected by being vaccinated. Hope that helps.
  • mel7, as your daughter does not have a spleen, we would recommend that she has the swine flu jab, as people without a spleen may be more prone to infections.

    As I said to Rhian2, the vaccine has been tested in children down to six months of age.

    The vaccine can be given at the same time as the seasonal flu jab and at any interval afterwards. She is due for an operation next week, so ask the paediatrician to sort out the vaccines as soon as she is over the operation.
  • I am 28 weeks pregnant and also have a 16 month old. I can't decide whether to have the vaccination and all the experts I speak to will only advise that its personal choice. Also why is it ok to have it when your baby is unborn but its not ok for babies under 6 months?
  • ah53 asks again about pregnancy and vaccination, so please see my answer to MLM.

    No drugs are tested in pregnant women, but the vaccine has been fully tested in pregnant animals as drugs are routinely tested, without problem. We also know that about 90 women became pregnant shortly after having these vaccines, and 50 of them have already gone on to have normal pregnancies and babies. The seasonal flu vaccine is routinely given every year to pregnant women who have risk factors for flu and the Pandremix vaccine has only one quarter of the amount of the vaccine that seasonal flu vaccine has. It does have an adjuvant that improves the immune response and hence allows this tiny dose to be used. The adjuvant has got vitamin E in it, that we all have in our diet, and a fish oil (squalene) that again we have in our diet and squalene is normally present in our blood.

    The problem with delaying until the risk of miscarriage is lower is that you remain vulnerable to SF whilst the virus is still circulating. I know this is a difficult choice, but I think protection is better than the risk of infection.
  • Tritread asks if her husband is vaccinated is she more likely to get flu because that is what happened last year when he had his flu jab.

    It was absolutely nothing but a coincidence last year. If your husband is immune after a swine flu or seasonal flu jab, he can't give it to you.

    You can't blame him - you caught the virus from someone else!
  • SEJ is in two minds about giving her 18 month old little girl, the swine flu jab.

    I can't tell you for how long the vaccine will work, but this sort of vaccine should protect for years, not months, and may well protect if the swine flu virus drifts. We have not seen serious side effects in children in the clinical trials, and it does stop swine flu whereas Tamiful just makes the symptoms less serious.

    Protection is better than cure.
  • Hi Professer
    Thanks you for your help wiht the reply to my q.
    If you have time, can I ask if my six month old daughter would have any side affects after having the jab as i had read that it is a "nasty" jab to have but not sure if this is all talk?!
  • Thank you so much for your advise, as my daughter was never tested for swine flu I think I will get the vaccine done and for myself too.
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