Babies to be offered vaccine against respiratory virus from 2025


All infants are to be offered a vaccine against the respiratory syncytial (RS) virus from next year to cut the number of young children admitted to intensive care.

Around 1% to 2% of children are admitted to hospital in their first year with an RS infection, which can cause inflammation of the airways and acute bronchiolitis in infants.

The medical watchdog Gezondheidsraad advised the cabinet to add the vaccine to the immunisation programme “as soon as possible” after it was licensed by the EU last year. The public health agency RIVM will decide at what age babies should be given the jab.

The outgoing government has allocated €19 million for 2025 and €25 million a year from 2028 to administer the vaccine, but estimates it will cost €16 million a year in treatment costs.

RS is one of the leading causes of infant deaths worldwide. The infection persists into later life, though symptoms are mild in healthy adults. It can cause more serious illness in people over 65 and those with compromised immune systems.

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