Babies born from May to be offered rotavirus vaccine
- 30 April 2013
- From the section Scotland
All babies born in Scotland from May are to be offered a vaccination to protect them from a bug which causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting.
About 1,200 Scots infants have to go to hospital every year due to rotavirus.
The two-dose vaccine will be offered to all babies aged two months, and again at three months when they attend for their routine childhood immunisations.
Rotarix is given as a mouth drop and protects against the most common strains of the virus.
The Scottish government said it was not a new vaccine and had been used extensively with millions of doses given to babies in other countries.
In the US, it is claimed rotavirus-related hospital admissions have fallen by as much as 86% due to the vaccine.
Scotland's Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: "Currently in Scotland, around 1,200 babies have to go to hospital every year due to severe diarrhoea and vomiting caused by rotavirus, and in some of the most serious cases that can result in a hospital stay.
"The vaccine will not only protect tens of thousands of children from the effects of rotavirus every year, it will cut down on costly hospital admissions and the anxiety of hospital stays for parents and children."
The vaccine is the first of a number of forthcoming additions to Scotland's immunisation programmes.
A shingles vaccine for people aged 70 and up to 79 years is to be introduced from September 2013.
Changes are also being made to the schedule for administering the Meningitis C vaccine and the seasonal flu programme is being extend to include all children aged two to 17 years.