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Swine Flu: Babies

Volume 501: debated on Thursday 26 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what protection from swine influenza is available for babies under the age of six months; and if he will make a statement. (301899)

Our advice to everyone is to continue to protect themselves and their babies by observing good respiratory and hand hygiene (use a tissue when they cough and sneeze and then throw it away and the frequent use of soap and water or sanitizer). People should contact their general practitioner (GP) if they have a child under one year old who has flu-like symptoms.

A GP will assess children under one year and give advice on the use of the antiviral medication, any other relevant medication and on symptom management. People should keep a close eye on their child’s symptoms and if their child suddenly gets much worse or does not improve, they should contact their GP again.

The appropriate antiviral medication for children under one is oral oseltamivir solution, which is made up in national health service hospital pharmacies. We have enough of the powder for 50 per cent. of under ones. This is a sufficient amount based on current advice about the numbers who may be ill during the pandemic.

Advice on the use of antiviral medicines for children under the age of one year has been placed in the Library (“Pandemic Influenza: Recommendations on the use of antiviral medicines for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding and children under the age of one year”) and advice on breastfeeding and swine flu, including ways of reducing the risk of passing flu from mother to baby is given on the Department’s website at:

Neither of the swine flu vaccines used in the United Kingdom vaccination programme is licensed by the European regulators for use in children under six months old.