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Meningitis vaccine made available to all babies in Wales

All babies in Wales will be vaccinated against Meningitis B, the Welsh Government has announced.

The vaccine will now be added to the national childhood immunisation programme in Wales. Credit: PA

£7.7m will be put forward to fund the vaccination, which comes after a UK-wide deal was struck with vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

Last year the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation - the independent panel of experts which advises the UK countries on vaccination programmes - recommended every child over two months old should be given the vaccine.

But negotiations over the cost of the vaccine delayed the introduction of the programme.

"These negotiations mean we have now secured a meningitis B vaccine, which will benefit the health of all babies in Wales. Now a price has been agreed we will work to make this vaccination available as soon as practicable. We have made £7.7m of funding available to make sure this vaccine becomes part of our national childhood immunisation programme for Wales."

– Mark Drakeford AM, Health Minister

Babies will receive the first meningitis B vaccine at two months old, followed by two further doses.


General Election 'pivotal moment' for education

The Labour party says the General Election will be a pivotal moment for education here and across the UK.

Even though it's a devolved matter, the Education Minister Huw Lewis claims the election is a choice between two visions for education, arguing that the Conservatives would constrain the life chances of young people, whilst Labour would invest in them.

Are we going to continue down the road of austerity and shrink the budget for public services year on year and the inevitable fall out for that in education will be constrained life chances for our young people, or are we going to make sure that we priorities the life chances of our young people?

– Huw Lewis AM, Education Minister

The Tories meanwhile argue Labour have let down young people here, claiming Welsh schools trail behind others in Europe.

Less is spent on education here in Wales than it is in England, and that's a Labour choice to make that decision - we want to see more spent at the pupils at the sharp end so that the teachers can get the best out of those pupils.

– Alun Cairns, Conservatives


Proton beam cancer treatment centre to open in Cardiff

Credit: Arno Burgi/dpa

Cardiff is set to be home to one of only three proton beam therapy centres in the UK.

Treatment centres are being opened in Cardiff, London and Northumberland by 2017 - with the Cardiff centre due to be operational next year.

Proton therapy is a highly-targeted form of radiotherapy used to treat hard-to-reach cancers - such as spinal tumours - with a lower risk of damaging the surrounding tissue and causing side effects.

The centres, run by Cardiff-based Proton Partners International Ltd, will also offer conventional radiotherapy, chemotherapy and supportive care, to both NHS and private patients.

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