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Rotavirus Vaccination for Babies

Over the course of 2013-14, a new national vaccination programme for Rotavirus will be introduced for babies. The vaccine (Rotarix) will be given to babies at two months of age, followed by a second dose at three months of age. Rotavirus is a virus that causes gastroenteritis, leading to diarrhoea and vomiting, in particular in infants and young children. Almost all children have had a Rotavirus infection by the time they are 5 years old, with the maximum risk of infection occurring at around one year of age. Many children with Rotavirus infection will be managed by their parents without needing medical treatment but around 130,000 children will see their general practitioner each year because of Rotavirus infection and around 12,700 children will be admitted to hospital. The new vaccination programme should substantially reduce both the number of children infected with Rotavirus and the number of children admitted to hospital each year. Early studies suggest that the vaccine is safe as well as being effective in preventing  Rotavirus infections and its complications. 

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