Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Vaccinating children could help control swine flu spread

  • Comment

Targeting children for flu vaccination could help control the spread of pandemics such as the current swine flu, say University of Warwick researchers.

The team from the university’s department of biological sciences used computer modelling to predict the spread of pandemic flu, and to look at ways of controlling it effectively.

They showed that the disease is likely to spread fastest in densely populated areas, suggesting that these should be priority areas for tackling the spread.

The researchers argue that vaccinating entire households at random would be an inefficient use of resources, but vaccinating key individuals – such as children – would help protect those at greatest risk of the virus and also offer protection to unvaccinated adults.

This ‘herd immunity’ effect would mean that significantly less vaccine would be necessary to help control the spread of the virus than if it were offered to everyone, they say.

‘Our models suggest that the larger the household – which in most cases means the more children living at home – the more likely the infection is to spread. This doesn’t mean that everyone in the household needs to be vaccinated, but suggests that vaccination programmes for children might help control a potential pandemic,’ the authors said.

‘Although not sufficient to prevent a pandemic in themselves, such steps may support other control measures such as social distancing, antiviral drugs or quarantine,’ they added in the journal Epidemiology and Infection.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.