Babies to be protected against deadly hepatitis B

Babies born from today in England will be given a routine 'six-in-one vaccine', health officials have announced.

The new jab will offer them protection against hepatitis B - which can cause cirrhosis and lead to liver cancer. 

It replaces the old five-in-one jab - which protects against diptheria, polio, tetanus, whooping cough and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

But Hexavalent, shelters against these five childhood diseases as well as offering immunity against hepatitis B.

The deadly virus is deemed a 'major global health problem' and considered to be on the rise due to immigration, Public Health England has previously admitted.

The new injection, called Hexavalent, shelters against five childhood diseases as well as offering immunity against hepatitis B

The new injection, called Hexavalent, shelters against five childhood diseases as well as offering immunity against hepatitis B

The vaccine is given three times as part of the childhood immunisation programme, when babies are eight weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks. 

Public Health England said the jab is safe and already widely used with around 150 million doses having been given in 97 countries.

Shown to be safe 

Dr Mary Ramsay, the body's head of immunisation, said: 'Until today, only children at high risk of hepatitis B would be immunised.

'All children will now be routinely protected against this serious infection, which is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer in later life.

'The Hexavalent vaccine has been extensively tested and shown to be safe and is widely used internationally with millions of doses being given around the world.'

Before today, only infants who were considered at risk of catching hepatitis B were offered the jab. 

Soaring cases of hepatitis B 

It comes amid serious concerns that the number of cases of the blood-borne virus are soaring, partly due to immigration. 

In some sub-Saharan African countries, one in seven is a carrier. East Asia and parts of Eastern Europe are also hotspots. 

All children will now be

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