Millions will be protected against disease by improvements to the UK’s immunisation schedule, including three vaccination programmes to protect against flu, shingles and diarrhoea.
All children aged two - around 650,000 in total - will be offered a nasal flu vaccine from September 2013 as part of a comprehensive vaccination programme.
A small number of pilots to vaccinate primary and pre-school aged children will run in some areas to make sure 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.
There will also be a shingles vaccination programme for people aged 70, with a catch-up programme for those aged up to, and including, 79.
Older people are most at risk if they get shingles and a vaccination programme will prevent nearly 40 per cent of the 30,000 cases seen every year in people over 70.
“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,” said Director of Immunisation Professor David Salisbury.
“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.”
The programme will begin in September 2013 and it is estimated that around 800,000 people will be eligible for the vaccine in the first year.
A rotavirus vaccination programme will start in July 2013 when children under four months will be vaccinated against rotavirus – a highly infectious bug that causes around 140,000 diarrhoea cases a year in under fives.
It leads to hospital stays for nearly one in ten – around 14,000 - of those who get it in the UK.
It is estimated that the rotavirus vaccine will halve the number of vomiting and diarrhoea cases caused by rotavirus and there could be 70 per cent fewer hospital stays as a result.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England said: “The introduction of the oral Rotavirus vaccine in the US and parts of Europe has had a major impact on preventing young children from developing this unpleasant vomiting and diarrhoeal disease.
“The vaccine is very easy to administer and involves placing a droplet of liquid into the babies’ mouths.
“In the countries where the vaccine has already been introduced, the uptake has been high and has resulted in rapid and sustained reductions in childhood rotavirus hospitalisations.”
The current arrangement for protecting people against meningitis C will also be updated.
A new teenage booster jab given at age 12-13 will replace the booster that is currently given at four months old – as evidence shows the four-month booster is no longer required. The teenage booster jab will be offered in the 2013/14 academic year.
The decisions to introduce the new vaccination programmes and updates to existing programmes were made after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – the Government’s independent vaccine experts - studied all the available evidence and advised that these changes are made to protect more people against disease.
A Rotovirus training sheet has been released on the Department of Health website.
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