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New Rotavirus vaccine set to cut levels of sickness and diarrhoea in under fives

Article By: Julia Corbett, News Editor

Around 675,000 babies a year in England will be offered the new vaccination to protect them against Gastroenteritis.

Babies will be given the vaccine orally when they are two and three months of age in order to protect them from the infection, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea in infants.

Dr Paul Cosford, director for Health Protection and medical director at Public Health England(PHE), said: “Rotavirus is a highly infectious and unpleasant illness that affects thousands of young children each year. While most recover within a few days, nearly 1 in 5 will need to see their doctor, and 1 in 10 will end up in hospital as a result.

“Although good hygiene measures can help prevent spread of the disease, the best way to protect your baby from catching Rotavirus is to get them vaccinated.

“The new vaccine will provide protection to those young babies who are most vulnerable to complications arising from Rotavirus. From now on parents will be offered this protection alongside their baby’s other childhood vaccinations.”

At the moment nearly every child will develop the infection by five years of age, with Rotavirus Gastroenteritis responsible for 130,000 visits to the GP and 13,000 hospitalisations for dehydration every year.

The vaccine has been introduced by a partnership between Public health England, the Department of Health and NHS England who will continue to introduce new or amended vaccinations against shingles, meningococcal group C and flu throughout the year.

It is hoped that the Rotavirus vaccination will cut the number of cases seen in children aged under five by 50 per cent, and lead to 70 per cent fewer hospital stays.


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