latest health care news

28.05.13

New vaccination programmes to prevent thousands of cases of disease

NHS England has announced improvements to its immunisation schedule, including three vaccination programmes to protect against flu, shingles and diarrhoea.

“Millions more people will be protected against disease”, it said, with all two-year-old children to be offered a nasal flu vaccine from September this year.

Pilot projects to vaccinate primary and pre-school aged children will be run to ensure the NHS is ready to roll out the programme to all pre-school and primary school children next year.

Pilots for secondary school children will run in some areas in 2014 in order to roll out the programme nationwide in 2015.

From September this year, there will also be a shingles vaccination programme for people aged 70, with a catch-up programme for those aged up to 79. Currently, around 30,000 people a year aged over 70 get shingles and around 800,000 people are expected to be eligible for the vaccine in the first year.

Another new vaccination programme is for rotavirus, which causes around 140,000 diarrhoea cases a year in the under-fives. That starts in July 2013 for children under four months.

Director of immunisation, Professor David Salisbury, said: “We already have a world class vaccination programme in place, which saves millions of lives each year, so I’m pleased that we will be able to protect even more people against disease starting later this year.

“By offering new vaccines to two groups at the opposite end of the age scale, we can protect our most vulnerable against potentially harmful diseases. And the introduction of a teenage booster for Meningitis C will improve the protection given to young people.”

New evidence shows the four-month booster for Meningitis C is no longer required.

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