Babies face new vaccine programme

Tags: children

All babies aged between two and four months are to be vaccinated against an infectious bug.

The rotavirus is one of the most common causes of diarrhoea in children.

The Department of Health's vaccination programme will start in July.

It is a move that experts stress will lead to thousands of children being spared hospital stays and hundreds of thousands of GP visits.

Almost every child now suffers the viral infection by the age of five.

The virus currently causes 140,000 diarrhoea cases every year in under fives across the UK, leading to about 14,000 hospital stays.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said that the oral rotavirus vaccine is very easy to administer and involves placing a droplet of liquid into the babies' mouths.

She that the uptake has been high in the countries where the vaccine has already been introduced, including the US and parts of Europe.

She said it has resulted in quick and sustained reductions in childhood rotavirus hospitalisations.

Dr Ramsay added: "As well as the rotavirus vaccine for infants, the upcoming introduction of childhood influenza and adolescent MenC immunisation programmes along with routine vaccination against shingles for older adults will all continue to contribute to our highly successful vaccination programme which we can boast in the UK."

Health leaders are also making changes to the meningitis C vaccination programme.

Children will receive the booster when they are 12 or 13, instead of getting the jab at four months.

Copyright Press Association 2013


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