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The Department of Health is considering adding a routine fourth dose of Hib vaccine to the childhood immunisation programme, after new data showed the Hib booster campaign was an overwhelming success.

The number of confirmed cases of Hib plummeted by 43 per cent between the beginning of 2003 and the same period in 2004, according to figures from the Health Protection Agency.

And in children aged one to four – the age group who received the booster – there was a giant 87 per cent reduction. Only six children were recorded with Hib disease in the first 17 weeks of 2004 compared with 46 children in the same period in 2003.

The booster campaign was introduced following large rises in the number of Hib cases – probably because of reduced effectiveness of the Hib vaccine when used in combination with acellular pertussis.

A Department spokesperson told Pulse that the campaign had been very successful and the results were being

reviewed.

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