The Department of Health has announced several changes to the national vaccination programme to include protection against flu, shingles and diarrhoea.
The JCVI has previously recommended the addition of rotavirus vaccine to the childhood vaccination schedule. This infection currently causes around 140,000 cases of diarrhoea in the under 5s each year with 10% of these cases being admitted to a hospital. Use of this vaccine is expected to start from July 2013.
The shingles vaccine will be offered to people aged 70 years from September 2013. A catch up campaign will also be operated which will offer vaccination to anyone aged up to 79 years old. Shingles affects 30,000 people aged over 70 each year and it is hoped that this vaccine will prevent 40% of those cases.
A nasal influenza vaccine will be offered to 2 year old children from September 2013. The following year the programme will be rolled out to include all pre-school and primary school children and the year after that the programme will be extended again to include secondary school children.
Additionally, the current meningitis C booster vaccine given at 4 months old will be replaced with a vaccine given to those aged 12 and 13 years old.
Action: Clinicians should be aware of these changes to the national vaccination programme. Anyone involved with the delivery of the vaccination programme should ensure they familiar with the changes and the new vaccines.