Parents told to keep vaccination appointments

Parents in Oxfordshire are being told to make sure they still get their children vaccinated against swine flu, even though the national hotline's been switched off.

The National Pandemic Flu Service has been wound down because of a steady fall in the number of new cases.

Oxfordshire's health bosses say parents still need to make sure children are protected in case swine flu makes a return.

Katie Cleaver from NHS Oxfordshire has been telling Heart: "The virus is still out there, it is still serious.  It has shown itself to affect children in the age group 6 months to 5 years so it is important to go and get vaccinated.

"There's not a high incidence of it out there now but it will come back in the next flu season and there's a really straightforward way to make sure that your children don't get it and that's to take them to the GP and get them vaccinated."

All parents are being asked to make contact with their doctor's surgery to request the vaccine, rather than wait to be invited to come in and have the jab.

All children under five are being vaccinated because they are the group most likely to suffer complications if they contract swine flu.  People with long-term conditions like asthma are also being vaccinated.

If you think you have swine flu, the advice is now to contact your GP.  The closure of the National Pandemic Flu hotline and website means anti-viral drugs can no longer be issued without making contact with your doctor.

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