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The immunisation programme works: rotavirus diseases among young children have been almost entirely eliminated


The rotavirus vaccine was added to the National Immunisation Programme in 2009. Since that time, the instances of hospital treatment caused by the rotavirus have decreased by as much as 93% among children under five years of age.

Rotavirus causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting in children, potentially leading to dehydration and hospitalisation. According to Tuija Leino, Chief Physician at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, practically all children had to go through a bout of rotavirus before the vaccinations began.

The vaccinations had a dramatic impact and also produced substantial savings for society. Research indicates that the annual cost of the rotavirus vaccinations is EUR 2.3 million, but the vaccinations have reduced specialised health care costs by EUR 4.5 million per year.

There are still cases of rotavirus infection because 7–9% of children do not get the rotavirus vaccination. Unvaccinated children are usually infected by rotavirus between the ages of three and five.