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Six-in-one child vaccine plan

Government vaccine advisers are considering recommending hepatitis B be introduced into the childhood immunisation schedule via a six-in-one vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has deferred a decision on

hepatitis B until October while it considers Hexavac, a combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Hib and hepatitis B.

Dr George Kassianos, a member of the committee's hepatitis B sub-group and RCGP immunisation spokes-man, said Hexavac 'would be really welcome' as it would clear the way for further vaccines ­ such as pneumococcal ­ to be added to the schedule.

But Dr Chaand Nagpaul, a GP in Middlesex and member of the BMA's public health medicine committee, said some parents may not accept a six-in-one vaccine. 'Public confidence has already been shaken because of MMR,' he said. 'GPs will have to be given information on safety and efficacy so we can see the vaccine offers the same level of pro- tection we currently have.'

Hexavac has an EU licence and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency recently declared it safe after reviewing reports of serious adverse

reactions.

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