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Spreading out doses of childhood Hib could be an effective alternative to adding an extra booster dose to the UK vaccine schedule.
A study in Finland, where children have been vaccinated against Hib at four, six and 14- 18 months since 1988, found there were only three cases of Hib meningitis between 1991 and 2000.
In the UK, infants receive Hib at two, three and four months but Government advisers are considering a routine booster after launching a catch-up campaign in 2002 in response to a rise in Hib cases.
Professor Heiki Peltola, professor of infectious diseases at University of Helsinki children's hospital, said: 'Excellent protection from Hib meningitis has been maintained. We think our approach keeping at least two months between the first two doses and giving the third as a late booster is a good compromise.'
The research analysed re-cords of Hib meningitis in Finland between 1939 and 2003 and was published online by the BMJ.