Welsh Government
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Changes to the National Immunisation Programme 2013-14 announced

Health Minister Mark Drakeford yesterday announced changes to the Welsh immunisation programme to protect against preventable diseases and infections during a debate on the measles outbreak.

Speaking in the Senedd, the Minister outlined the impact of vaccinations on public health and spoke about the lessons learned from the recent epidemic.

He said:

“After clean water, vaccination is the most effective public health intervention in the world for saving lives and protecting people against disease.”

The recent measles epidemic is a clear illustration of why an effective immunisation programme is needed.

Mark Drakeford added:

“I am sure we all agree that learning from the outbreak is an important process so that we can be confident that the public continues to be offered the best protection available against infectious diseases.

“I was pleased to see that the latest COVER (Cover of Vaccination Evaluated Rapidly) report from Public Health Wales shows that for the first time ever, the national average uptake of MMR in two-year-olds has reached 95%.

“However, further efforts are needed to improve the MMR uptake rate for children reaching 16 years of age, which is currently 82%.”

The changes to the immunisation programme are:

  • Starting in June The second dose of Meningitis C, currently given at 4 months, is being withdrawn and replaced with a dose given in adolescence.
  • From July there will be a vaccine to protect babies and young children against rotavirus, a common bowel infection which can require hospital treatment and can lead to severe symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps, dehydration and mild fever, likely to last approximately three to eight days. The vaccine is in the form of oral drops.
  • A routine shingles vaccine programme will start with people aged 70 and there will be a gradual catch up programme implemented, starting with 79 year olds
  • As part of the 2013-14 seasonal flu campaign, 2 and 3 year olds will be vaccinated in primary care using a nasal spray, and children in school Year 7 vaccinated through the school nursing service. This would be administered every year.
  • Those children up to 9 years old who are in groups considered ‘at risk’ of developing complications from contracting flu, will require a second dose of flu vaccine from their GP (unless they have already had the vaccine in previous years).

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