GPs launch rotavirus vaccination for babies

GPs across the UK will offer rotavirus vaccination to over half a million babies a year from Monday, in a bid to reduce the spread of gastroenteritis.

Rotavirus prompts 130,000 visits to GP surgeries each year
Rotavirus prompts 130,000 visits to GP surgeries each year

The oral Rotarix vaccine will be offered at two and three months old to prevent children contracting the highly infectious disease.

Around 675,000 babies in England will be offered the vaccine every year.

Rotavirus infection causes 130,000 visits to GP surgeries and 13,000 hospitalisations every year in England. Officials hope the vaccine will halve the number of rotavirus cases and cut hospital stays by 70%.

Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection and medical director at Public Health England, said: '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.'

The new programme is the first in a series of changes to routine vaccination this year.

From September, a Meningitis C booster jab for 12- and 13-year-olds will replace the one at four months, which was withdrawn in June.

A new shingles vaccination will also begin that month, as well as an expansion of the flu programme to include 1m infants aged two and three.

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