Babies to get 'gut bug vaccine'


Prof David Salisbury, Director of Immunisation, DoH: "We expect this will save around £20m"

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Babies in the UK are to be vaccinated against a tummy bug which causes tens of thousands of cases of vomiting and diarrhoea each year.

Rotavirus infection is rarely fatal in the UK.

Using the vaccine has cut cases and reduced hospital admissions in other countries, including the US.

The Department of Health said the vaccine would be offered from September 2013 and would be given in two doses after two and three months.

Childhood vaccines

Two months

  • Five-in-one: first dose for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b jab
  • Pneumococcal infection
  • Rotavirus from September 2013

Three months

  • Second five-in-one
  • Meningitis C
  • Second rotavirus from September 2013

Four months

  • Third five-in-one
  • Second Pneumococcal infection
  • Second meningitis C

One year

  • MMR
  • Third Pneumococcal infection
  • Booster for Haemophilus influenzae type b and meningitis C

Source: NHS Choices

The bug is very infectious and causes about 140,000 cases every year in the under-fives. About 14,000 will need hospital treatment.

Experts believe that vaccination would cut the number of cases in half and lead to 70% fewer hospital visits.


Prof David Salisbury, the director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said the virus "spreads very easily" and causes distress for children and families.

"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 the vaccine - which is administered in drops - had been "used very extensively" with "huge trials demonstrating both its safety and its effectiveness".

It is expected to cost £25m a year to vaccinate 840,000 children a year. However, the government believes cutting the number of cases will save the NHS £20m.

Prof Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, said: "Rotavirus causes large epidemics of diarrhoea and vomiting in babies and young children every winter and with it, misery for thousands of families across the country.

"I'm pleased that another unpleasant illness that affects most children is going to be brought under control. It will also help hospitals cope in the busy winter months by reducing pressure on beds and front-line staff."

Dr David Elliman, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the vaccine would prevent a "huge amount of suffering" and save the NHS money.

"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," he said.


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  • Comment number 169.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    97. milvusvestal As a child - I don't recall any illness like this - but then again in those days my mom was a stay at home mom as were all my classmates moms - so we were never in day care and we were never sent to school if we were sick (I do recall what as an adult I now know was vomiting only caused by severe migraine).

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    My God.

    Judging by what I see here, Andrew Wakefield and science-illerate journalists have a lot to answer for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    I welcome any vaccine that saves lives and stops infectious diseases spreading in chlldren and adults. Having nursed my children through this bug last year and this year, winter sickness bug I have to say that the knock on effect will save more than £20 million, in time off work, school classes being cut and overall misery. Bring it on. Winter is bad enough with yucky tummy bugs each year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.
    This page shows 1 in 10 people, and as it should only be given to babies between 6 weeks and 8 Months old this means babies, will get sickness and Diarrhea as a result of the virus. A much higher rate than those that don not recieve the anti Diarrhea and Sickness Rotavirus vacine. Go figure.vacine. Go figure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    157 i am no subject - I already covered that in post 93. Saying some vaccines contain mercury is as stupid as claiming superglue contains cyanide.

    159 rideforever - Big oil makes billions injecting chemicals into your car, and Big Food makes billions injecting chemicals into your face. Your point being?

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    148. brightonmummy

    Then you are a fool, knowing full well the consequences of one more mouth to feed when there is no food. I suggest you start building some colonies on Mars, then.

    156. Anglerfish

    Then you obviously haven't been paying full attention to proceedings. The world is not just in a recession. The world's populations are reaping what they have sown by unbridled pro-creation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    Reading some of these comments, you wouldn't think we have universal education in the UK. Vaccinations increase immunity. It's ironic that as herd immunity increases and deaths and disability have decreased as a result of vaccinations, people seem to be more ignorant of how much they have benefited. Basic hygiene also seems to have reduced over time. It's sad that so much is taken for granted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    "Spend £25 million to save £20 million, classic school of Osborne accounting"

    I hate Osborne and his modern history degree as much as the next guy, but you have to add on untold millions in value of less suffering. As for natural immunity, the vaccine is as useful as getting the virus so your biology lesson is worthless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    All these people talking about the necessity for children to gain "natural immunity" - do you understand how a vaccine works? It works in the EXACT SAME MANNER as being infected to build up resistance to disease, just in a lesser amount and under control.

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    Big Pharma making billions injecting chemicals into your child's body.

  • Comment number 158.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    to Drunken Hobo - why are you commenting when you have no idea what you are talking about? Based on what are you saying that mercury is not in vaccines??
    I propose you go on google, find some official sources and read up on the basics first " Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines and other products since the 1930's ..."

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    131. Underclass Underdog
    123. Anglerfish
    ' ... every one of the diseases we managed to eradicate, will come back, strong as ever. Are you naive enough to think they wont? '

    While not minimising the depredations of the current government I am too sensible and well informed (not naive) to know that we won't see a return of polio, smallpox, rubella etc. to anything like previous levels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    To all those commenting on evolution, I hope that if you fall ill due to a congenital health issue, or are stricken with a vaccine-preventable disease such as measles, that you adhere to your own beliefs and remove yourself from the gene pool.
    Or is it easier to say "let others die" than to adhere to your own ill-informed and hypocritical stance?

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.



  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    148. brightonmummy

    How is encouraging the extended mortality of people who will contribute a mere pittance throughout their lifetimes to a system no longer sustainable a sensible idea? The economy of the world is in dire straits. Population as spiralled out of control. Resource are running out. Will you still decry "Save the children" when there is no room left to put them, food to feed them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    It is natural for parents to want to do all they can to protect their children but they all too easily fall into the grasp of the pharmaceutical industry pushing its wears. By all means vaccinate your child but be sure you have read in detail all the independent case studies on the vaccination (not the advertisements big pharma roll out) before doing so.
    Vaccines are being pushed very heavily now.

  • Comment number 151.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    Weare Just Universaldust,

    Ofcourse pharma companies make a profit. Nobody claims that the production of the vaccine is the product of human kindness. Do you realise how much time and effort is spent calculating the cost effectiveness of new vaccines? Next time youre in hospital with a deadly infection, tell the drs not to give you antibiotics, theyre just produced to make the rich richer!


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