Flu vaccination call for all children from doctors
The doctor parents of a three year old girl who died from swine flu have called for all children to be vaccinated against the virus.
Lana Ameen, who had no underlying health problems, died in hospital on Boxing Day, two days after apparently catching a cold and developing a high temperature.
Her parents, a doctor and nurse, have described how they were “shocked” at losing their daughter and said it was wrong that not all children were given the swine flu jab this winter. During the 2009 swine flu outbreak, it was recommended that all under-fives be vaccinated.
In the past fortnight, the Government has come under fire for restricting use of the seasonal flu jab, which protects against swine flu and two other strains, to under-fives who suffer from health problems, such as neurological disorders or asthma.
Ministers insist they are legally bound to follow the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which last July decided against vaccinating all children against this winter’s flu strains, a position they reaffirmed over Christmas.
But Gemma and Zana Ameen from Quinton, Birmingham, said the “price was too high” not to vaccinate children against the potentially deadly swine flu (H1N1) virus.
Mrs Ameen, 28, who is 12 weeks pregnant, said: “I want to say to people, to parents, ‘If you can get the vaccine don’t hesitate’. The risk of not having it and the price you might pay is just too high.
“We have been so shocked by what has happened and we feel very strongly that everyone, particularly children, should have the vaccine. The Government has made the swine flu vaccine from last year available now — we should all be having it.
“Even financially, surely it makes sense. The swine flu vaccine is inexpensive and has already been bought — it cost £1,700 just to care for Lana in intensive care for one day.”
The Ameen family were visiting relatives in Stockport, Greater Manchester, when Lana became ill on Christmas Eve. At about 2am on Christmas Day, her parents took her to Stepping Hill Hospital, where they had formerly worked, where she was diagnosed with an infection and her temperature stabilised before being sent home.
When she woke she seemed slightly better, opening Christmas presents and eating a little lunch. But after falling asleep that afternoon, she started having fits and was taken in an ambulance back to the hospital. She was eventually transferred to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool and died the next day.
Since October, five of the 50 patients known to have died of flu have been under-fives.
Tags: Accident and Emergency, Doctors, H1N1, NHS Deaths, preventable crisis, swine flu