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Child vaccine delayed by six months

Pneumococcal vaccination will not be introduced into the childhood schedule until the end of the year at the earliest, GP negotiators have warned.

It is the first confirmation that the vaccine will be delayed from its original proposed start-date of June, as previously reported by Pulse.

The Department of Health announced the vaccine's introduction in February, but it has still not come to an agreement with the GPC over how the programme will be funded.

Dr Richard Vautrey, a GPC negotiator, said he did not know whether pneumococcal vaccination could be introduced by the end of the year.

He said: 'It all depends on how quickly the Government wants to negotiate on this. Negotiations are ongoing and we would hope for a satisfactory resolution as soon as possible.'

Dr George Kassianos, RCGP immunisation spokesman and a GP in Bracknell, Berkshire, said he had been assured the vaccine would be introduced by the summer ­ and that the delay would cost children's lives.

'Every week a child dies. I plead with the department and the GPC to get together and negotiate a resolution on this.'

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