Vaccine made available for nasty gastric bug

  • Jo Goodhew

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced that a vaccine for rotavirus will be added to the National Immunisation Schedule.

“Rotavirus is a gastric infection which mainly affects children. It causes illness and diarrhoea that can lead to hospital admission. In severe cases, the infection can be fatal,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“It is estimated that by funding this vaccine up to 1200 hospital admissions could be avoided each year.

“The decision by Pharmac to add this vaccine to the schedule comes with the support of paediatricians,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The rotavirus vaccine is given while babies are very young – within the first eight months – and is a liquid oral vaccine that is easy to administer to infants.

“Pharmac has today also confirmed that the chickenpox vaccine, varicella, will be funded to protect the most at-risk patients. This includes children with reduced immune systems,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“These are all positive improvements to the National Immunisation Schedule, and I hope they will ultimately lead to higher rates of immunisation, one of the Government’s key health goals,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The changes to the National Immunisation Schedule will come into place from 1 July 2014.