The Health Protection Agency recommended on Monday that all children under five should be given the anti-influenza jab. Vaccinating children against flu would prevent the spread of the virus in the whole population and could reduce some types of the infection by up to 70 per cent.
- Why would it be successful?
Children are more likely to spread germs because they have a lower immunity and have close contact with family members.
- What is the current flu policy?
Currently the elderly and people with high-risk conditions, such as asthma, are offered a jab every year in the UK. In the US, flu vaccination is already offered for children aged six months to five years.
- How big a deal is the disease?
Flu is a disease of the lungs and upper airways caused by infection with a flu virus. The virus spreads in the lungs and airways. There are three flu viruses, known as A, B and C. The symptoms are a high temperature and general aches and pains. Sufferers may experience appetite loss, nausea and a harsh, dry cough.
- How is the disease spread?
The flu virus is spread in the small droplets of saliva coughed or sneezed into the atmosphere by an infected person. Direct contact with contaminated hands also spreads infection.
- Media coverage
The story has been picked up by most of the nationals including the Daily Telegraph. BBC Breakfast also ran a story with experts giving their opinions.
1933 - Year the influenza virus was first identified.