Parents Wary of Swine Flu Vaccination for Kids

Sweden's mass free vaccination programme against Swine flu was stepped up on Monday with all children above the age of three being offered the vaccine at school or healthcare centres in many parts of the country.

However a sizeable percentage of parents are believed to be against giving their children the vaccine because of fears over damaging side effects.

In the areas of Skåne, Blekinge and Uppsala, children will be given the vaccine at school with parental consent. In Stockholm, the parents of 300 000 children have been given information on the vaccine and whether or not they assent to have their children vaccinated at school. It's expected to take three weeks for all children to receive their vaccination.

Children under the age of 13 will receive half the adult dose. The lower dose is said to give fewer side effects such as fever and loss of appetite.

Fears over damaging side effects and concerns over whether the Swine flu vaccine has been properly researched has led many parents to decline giving their children the vaccine.

Annike Linde from the Swedish Institute for Infectious Diseas Control told Dagens Nyheter newspaper "Schoolchildren are the biggest spreaders of the virus. They are a really important group to be vaccinated. The school break last week has given us some breathing space but we are waiting a new peak of infections in a couple fo weeks."