Children get swine flu trial jabs
About 500 children have so far been given swine flu vaccines in a study to determine how effective the jabs are ahead of a UK vaccination
The vaccination study involves 600 children aged six months to 12 years.
The trial to test two vaccines began a week ago at five centres in Bristol, Oxford, Southampton, Exeter and London.
Information about their use on children is limited and the study will allow experts to monitor immune reactions and any side effects.
Millions of doses of the vaccines have been purchased for use across the UK.
Participation in the scheme is voluntary and consenting parents have been briefed on the risks.
Side effects could include tenderness, redness, bruising, swelling, hardness or warmth at the injection site and short spells of fever following the
Children who take part have two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart, followed by a blood test three weeks later.
If serious disease in healthy children increases then routine vaccination for all healthy children will be considered
Cherry Lewis, research communications manager
Analysis of the research, carried out at the University of Bristol, will determine which of the two vaccinations is more effective.
Cherry Lewis, research communications manager at the university, said: "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.
"By conducting this study, researchers hope to determine if one of the vaccines is better tolerated or more likely to protect children against swine
flu than the other in this age group.
"Although children are disproportionately affected by swine flu, only children in high risk groups and children who are household contacts of people
in high risk groups will be offered the vaccine initially.
"If serious disease in healthy children increases then routine vaccination for all healthy children will be considered."
Scientists have enough older children taking part in the study but have appealed for more children under the age of three to take part.
Parents interested in enrolling their child can visit the swineflutrial.org website.
The Department of Health estimate they will have enough vaccine for half the population by the end of the year.
Vaccination is expected to start with high risk groups, the very young, elderly and medical staff.