The Federal Government has introduced the rotavirus vaccine into routine immunisation to protect against rotavirus infections among children in the country.

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe, dehydrating diarrhoea in children less than five years.

According to the World Health Organisation, rotaviruses are double-stranded RNA viruses of the genus Reoviridae.

Speaking during the commencement of the vaccination in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said improving children’s health is a priority.

Ehanire, who was represented by the Director, Public Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Morenike Okoh, said, “The Government of Nigeria, with the support of our donors and partners, especially GAVI, has spent huge amounts to fulfil routine immunisation vaccines for Nigerian children. This is because improving the health of our children remains a priority for this administration.

“We, therefore, ask parents and caregivers to leverage this privilege to ensure that their children are vaccinated against all vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Also speaking, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, described rotavirus as one of the leading causes of diarrheal disease in the world, adding that it is responsible for over 40% of diarrhoea in children.

On his part, the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Walter Mulombo, said Nigeria, being one of the four countries that harbour approximately half the global burden, would gain from the economic impact of the vaccine.