UK babies to be vaccinated against diarrhea by the winter 2013

The UK Department of Health has announced that it plans to vaccinate as many babies as possible to prevent the spread of a virulent stomach bug. The stomach bug is known to cause one baby out of ten to end up getting admitted at the hospital.

By the next winter every baby who has reached 4 months will be required to take 2 dose of rotavirus vaccine. The vaccine is administered by mouth drops.

Every year, this stomach bug is known to cause 140, 000 cases of diarrhea in children less than 5 years. It is the main cause of stomach discomfort in most children. Out of that 14, 000 children will end up staying at the hospital for some few days.

Experts are happy with that move. They mentioned that diarrhea cases in young children during the winter was putting too much pressure on the UK National Health Service (NHS). Most are hoping that this vaccine reduces the cases of vomiting and diarrhea in children by half. If that happens then there will be a 70% reduction in the number of children that get admitted at the hospital.

The vaccine is named Rotarix and it is made by GlaxoSmithKline. The intention is to have as much as 840, 000 babies getting vaccinated each year. Countries like Belgium, USA, Australia and Austria are already using that vaccine. It was in the year 2009 that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that all children around the world get vaccinated against the rotavirus.

In the US, ever since they have started implementing this new vaccine, they have recorded that rotavirus hospital admission has considerably reduced. Since Rotarix has been introduced, children diarrhea admissions into hospitals have been cut to up to two third.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) reported that rotavirus contributes to the outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhea in nurseries and schools.

The implementation of this new vaccine next year, will mean that from that point on every child will be required to take 11 vaccines before getting to age 5. Another new vaccine is also planned to be introduced by 2014. That is the flu vaccine. Children between 2 to 17 will be vaccinated annually against flu using nasal spray.

The decision about the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine was taken after the experts of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) came to the conclusion that a national program was cost effective.

The vaccination program has been projected to cost around 25 million pounds a year. In the long run it is expected to save 20 million dollars per year to the NHS due to the fact that fewer children will get admitted at the hospital. This vaccine has been used in the US for a while now. It might be new to UK but there is already a body of evidence that shows it does work. It is indeed safe and effective. Get ready for it.