GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine for rotavirus has been chosen by the U.K. Department of Health to protect children from gastroenteritis.

The Rotarix vaccine will be offered to about 840,000 infants under 4 months of age in the U.K. starting in September 2013, the Department of Health said in a statement Saturday.

The program is expected to cost about $39.8 million a year, and will save about $30 milliona year through fewer hospital stays and other calls on National Health Service resources, the department said.

The highly contagious rotavirus infects the stomach and bowel, causing diarrhea and vomiting, also known as gastroenteritis. About 14,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized in England and Wales due to rotavirus-related disease each year.

“Many people think of diarrhea as something that all children get and that you have to put up with,” David Salisbury, the Department of Health’s director of immunization, said in a statement. “But there is a way to protect children from this. I’d encourage all parents of young children to accept this vaccine.”

GSK operates its North American headquarters in RTP.

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