Free jabs for young and old

The Department of Health has announced a mass immunisation programme that will provide jabs free of charge for a range of diseases affecting the young and old.

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Vaccinations to target common cause of diarrhoea in kids

The Department of Health has today announced that the planned rotavirus vaccination programme will start in July.

All babies aged between two and four months will be vaccinated against a highly infectious bug that is one of the most common causes of diarrhoea in children.

At present, almost every child will have had the viral infection by the age of five. It is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in infants and very young children.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said that the oral vaccine is "very easy to administer" to young babies and that it has already been very effective in the US and parts of Europe.

Read: Health Department launches mass vaccination drive

Two-year-olds to be offered flu jab from September

All children aged two to 17 are to be given the flu vaccination through a nasal spray, the Health Department announced today.

Two-year-olds will be offered the flu vaccine via a nasal spray from September
Two-year-olds will be offered the flu vaccine via a nasal spray from September Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The programme was supposed to be rolled out throughout 2014 but experts today said that two-year-olds will be offered the spray from September this year.

The UK will become the first country to offer the flu vaccine to healthy children free of charge.

Healthy children are among those who are least likely to develop complications from being infected by flu, but their close contact with each other means they are more likely to transmit the virus to one another and other vulnerable people.

Seventy-year-olds to be offered free shingles jab

People over the age of 70 are to be offered routine shingles vaccinations in a move to prevent thousands of cases each year, officials said.

The viral infection affects more than 30,000 pensioners in England every year, but experts hope that a new vaccination programme could cut out 40% of cases.

The Department of Health has announced that people aged 70 will be able to get the Zostavax vaccine on the NHS from September, and that people aged up to 79 will be able to take part in a "catch up programme".

At present, some pay between £150 and £200 to get the jab privately.

Read: Health Department launches mass vaccination drive

Health Department launches mass vaccination drive

The Department of Health is today announcing a mass immunisation scheme that will offer vaccines free of charge for a range of diseases affecting the young and old.

The mass vaccinations drive will affect people aged from just a few months up to 79
The mass vaccinations drive will affect people aged from just a few months up to 79 Credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The programme of vaccinations will target shingles among those over the age of 70, flu amongst those aged between 2 and 17, and rotavirus in under-fives.

Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the department, 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".

"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."

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