All babies born from the 1st of August in the UK will receive the hepatitis B vaccine as part of their routine immunisation schedule. The vaccine will be added to the 5-in-1 vaccine that is already given to protect from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Hib | OnMedica
The move brings the UK into line with other countries which began to offer the vaccine after the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended in 1992 that babies should be immunised against the virus.
It is hoped that offering the hexavalent vaccine will drive down viral infections that cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. In children, the virus can linger for years causing serious liver damage.
Sema Mandal, a consultant in immunisation, hepatitis and blood safety at Public Health England (PHE), told The Guardian that the vaccine had been used widely and safely for many years, with about 150 million doses given to children since 2000.
This review of 38 studies, mainly from high-income countries, finds that parents want more information about childhood vaccinations, including for example balanced information on benefits and risks, given before the vaccination appointment and not during.
Infographic explaining some findings from the Attitudinal survey of parental attitudes to childhood vaccination
Three examples of findings within the attitudinal survey report that indicate the importance of health care professionals in the national immunisation programme and the seriousness with which parents view some infectious diseases.
Public Health England vaccination data has revealed that the number of cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by meningococcal group B (MenB) infection in eligible infants, has nearly halved over the last year after a new vaccine against the disease was introduced. The high uptake of the vaccine, called Bexsero, is considered to be key to the success of the programme.