Meningitis Vaccination

January 30th, 2008 - Pat Breen

QUESTION NO: 376

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health and Children (Ms. Harney (Dublin Mid-West))

by Deputy Pat Breen

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 30/01/2008

* To ask the Minister for Health and Children if her Department in conjunction with the Health Service Executive has plans to roll-out nationally a new vaccination to combat meningitis; when she expects the roll-out to commence; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Pat Breen T.D.

REPLY.

Ireland’s recommended immunisation programme is based on the guidelines of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. These guidelines are prepared with the assistance of an active committee from associated disciplines in paediatrics, infectious diseases, general practice and public health.A vaccine to prevent against meningococcal infections, including meningococcal septicaemia, caused by the Meningococcus C strain of the bacteria is already included in the primary immunisation schedule. The vaccine referred to by the Deputy is pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PVC) which protects against pneumococcal infections, which include pneumonia, septicaemia and bacterial meningitis. The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has produced new guidelines which include the addition of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PVC) to the schedule. PVC vaccine provides a high level of protection to young children from pneumococcal infections. I have been informed by the Health Service Executive that this vaccine will be introduced into the immunisation schedule from September this year.