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Wednesday 21st August 2019

Babies to be vaccinated against tummy bug

12th November 2012

The Department of Health has confirmed that all babies in the UK will be offered a vaccine against rotavirus from September next year.


The stomach bug, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, affects around 140,000 children under the age of five every year and around 14,000 children require hospital treatment.

Experts have estimated that vaccinating children would reduce the number of cases by 50% and decrease hospital visits by 70%.

Prof David Salisbury, the director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said rotavirus "spreads very easily".

"Many people think of diarrhoea as something that all children get and that you have to put up with. But there is a way to protect children from this. I'd encourage all parents of young children to accept this vaccine when the programme begins next year." 

He added that the safety of the vaccine had been proved by "huge trials" and it had been "used very extensively".

The cost of vaccinating 850,000 children annually has been estimated at £25 million, but the DH has said the drop in the amount of cases of the bug would save the health service £20 million. 

The DH said the vaccinations would be given in two stages: once when a baby was two months old and then the second part would be given at three months. 

Dr David Elliman, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "This vaccine will mean less pressure both on distressed parents who have to care for their children and of course the GPs and hospital services who are treating them."

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