Public Health England has announced that a hexavalent vaccine will be used for routine immunisation of babies born on or after 1st August 2017. This announcement has been covered by mainstream media outlets (BBC).
The introduced vaccine provides protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, polio and now hepatitis B. Interestingly, the vaccine has been available since October 2000 with approximately 150 million doses given worldwide.
Routine vaccine schedules are also available. Children who were started on the schedule using the pentavalent vaccine should continue primary course with pentavalent vaccine unless this is not available, in which case the hexavalent vaccine can be used. The programme guidance provides lots of routine information about the vaccine including contraindications and precautions, storage and administration, vaccine composition and discussion of potential errors in administration.
Action: Clinicians who will be involved in the delivery of the routine infant immunisation programme should be aware of this announcement and may wish to familiarise themselves with details provided.