Babies could be routinely vaccinated against hepatitis B under controversial plans being discussed by Government experts.
Cases of the disease, a blood infection which is often transmitted sexually, are said to be spiralling in Britain.
An influential committee on vaccination is considering adding it to a combination jab given to babies at eight weeks.
This would create a six-in-one vaccine which would also immunise against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Hib disease – a form of pneumonia.
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But campaigners are concerned about the ‘over-vaccination’ of children and fear any complications caused by adding hepatitis B to the jab would be difficult to spot.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
By the age of four, a child will have received 32 vaccines, some in multishot jabs including the MMR against measles, mumps and rubella.
The driving force behind the change is concern that infected immigrants are contributing to a rising tide of hepatitis B.
The virus is commonly spread by unprotected sex and needle sharing among drug addicts, and is 100 times more infectious than HIV. The disease can lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.