Pneumococcal jab shortfall in children

The DoH has called for more children to be given the pneumococcal vaccine after figures revealed that one child in seven has yet to receive the jab.

The vaccine was introduced in September 2006 into the childhood immunisation programme in England and Wales for children under two.

Since its launch, 300 cases of serious illness such as meningitis, septicaemia and severe pneumonia have been prevented. Of these, it is estimated that 17 children would have died and 30 would have been disabled.

But Health Protection Agency uptake figures reveal that only 86 per cent of children have been vaccinated with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

DoH director of immunisation Dr David Salisbury said that more children should be vaccinated as the uptake of the new vaccine remains lower than vaccines for other illnesses. 

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