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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  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    @174. USAperson

    You have a point, up to a point. When my son caught rotavirus the Doctor told us that it is one of the most contagious things a person can catch. He told us that 'A child can catch it from another as they pass each other sat in supermarket trolleys'.

  • Comment number 188.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    Your body's ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    @183. You are completely ill-informed and wrong. Frankly spouting nonsense like this is as harmful as not vaccinating your child. The mothers milk actually does provide defence against all types of pathogens by supplying IgM antibodies to the child. In early life a child doesn't produce their own antibodies and this is how evolution has overcome this problem. Please post informed comments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    After education myself about government over the past few years i can safely say that my child will under no circumstances be given this or any other vaccine handed out by government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    are all vaccines good for every one ?? problem not
    but should we stop all vaccines ? no
    there had been a lot of talk about the mmr vaccine and autism when my son was born
    i thought about it long and hard but made sure he was had it done and then had the boster. we forget that measles kills

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    @180. IanS

    Mums' milk solves a lot of these problems


    Mothers' milk is no protection against a virus. My eldest son was breast fed and it didn't prevent him being hospitalised by roatavirus when he was 18 months old. Please post informed comments!

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    >174. USAperson
    >after changing a babies diaper.

    after changing a baby's nappy.

    There, fixed it for you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    176 Underclass Underdog - Going by your comment 169, you are clearly a troll, or just a deeply unpleasant, unintelligent person. Probably both. Go away.

    177 ChubbyPandas - I was referring to poor countries that have huge population growth. Surely that was obvious? Now, wipe the foam from your mouth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Mums' milk solves a lot of these problems

  • Comment number 179.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    I wouldn't trust these people to put a plaster on my kids grazed finger, let alone inject them with chemicals. But I understand, that makes me a lunatic.

  • Comment number 177.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    171 DrunkenHobo

    I guess if that's the case, that's why we have mass immigration forced upon us to take up the slack. As I'm quite sure you must be well aware, this country is, in comparison to its size, the most overpopulated country in Europe. It doesnt take Stephen Hawking to figure out what will happen if we keep increasing the infant mortality rate, artificially and not let nature do its job

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    Whilst overpopulation is a massive problem on a global scale, I see little relevance here. This country's population is reaching a plateau and is actually predicted to decrease in the coming decades. Allowing children to die isnt a very intelligent way to solve the soaring human population. Who will be around to wipe our arses when were old and infirm?

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    In the early 20th century - number of infant deaths was reduced simply by teaching basic hygiene - as in wash your hands after going to the toilet & after changing a babies diaper.

    Perhaps the modern problem is with daycare workers/teachers going in to work when they are sick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    Robrat41 the reaction is mild D&V, rotavirus can kill babies through dehydration.
    Those suggesting that a baby's immune system can be overwhelmed by vaccinations should realise that as soon as the baby leaves the sterile environment of it's mother's womb the immune system is assaulted by every micro-organism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    @ 169,
    you couldn't be further from the truth, actually laughed at your judgement, I am not going to give you the satisfaction of describing my life to you as it is none of your business and irrelevant to the thread

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    163 Underclass Underdog - You are aware that the countries with the best health care, lowest child mortality rates and highest life expectancy are also the countries with the lowest population growth? If you want to stop overpopulation, you stop people from dying. The main reason people have 6 children in these countries is because half of them will die from preventable disease or famine.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    The guy banging on about thiomersal by the way should note it's actually been removed from all childhood vaccinations in the EU and US - and was done with no evidence that it was actually dangerous the way it was used.

    Not for nothing but cases of stuff like autism is lower in countries that still use it than don't so..


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