Giving babies a vaccine to protect against bugs that cause diarrhoea and vomiting is helping to lower cases of rotavirus
It’s a common illness in babies and toddlers, but thanks to a vaccination programme that was started last July, rotavirus cases are 70% lower than expected for this time of year.
There’s been a high uptake of the vaccine, which is given as part of your baby’s routine jabs when he’s two and three months in the form of two oral drops. Experts at Public Health England say that 93% of eligible children have received the first dose and 88% have completed the full course.
Before the vaccine was rolled out, experts estimated that almost every child had the viral infection by the age of five.
Babies with rotavirus usually get diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and dehydration, and it’s highly infectious.
While most children recover at home within a few days, nearly one in five will need to see their doctor, and one in 10 end up in hospital as a result of complications such as extreme dehydration.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation for Public Health England, said: ‘Rotavirus is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhoea (gastroenteritis) in infants and young children.
‘In children younger than five years in the UK, this infection has been responsible for around 140,000 GP visits and 14,000 hospitalisations every year and the immunisation programme is expected to prevent a significant number of young infants from developing this infection.
‘We are hugely encouraged by the widespread response to this vaccination which has already showed a very significant impact on cases of rotavirus in the UK. We will continue to work closely with our NHS and Department of Health colleagues to ensure the uptake for this vaccine remains high and the cases of rotavirus infection continue to decrease.’
Has your baby been for his routine jabs yet? What are your tips for keeping little ones calm during an injection? Let us know below.