Seanad debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Vaccination Programme

10:30 am

Photo of Gerry HorkanGerry Horkan (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Unfortunately, the Minister of State has told me much that I already knew. I asked him to indicate the likely funding that would be required to do this on an annual basis, and to make a statement in that regard. The vaccine is available for free from the NHS in the UK, so it is free in Northern Ireland. It is free on part of this island, but not down here. The assessment is due to be completed by July. I ask that it not be delayed in any way. The sooner it happens, the better. Cost-effectiveness obviously needs to be taken into account, but a person cannot know the unbelievable level of pain that goes with shingles until he or she contracts it. Three and a half years later, I still get twinges and pains in places where I had shingles. I got off the medication. Sometimes, people cannot come off the medication. I found my experience with the pain medication almost worse than the pain. I got off it as fast as I could. I was still on it probably from August until November. We should do anything we can to stop people getting it. We are talking about how morbidity is a potential outcome of shingles too. Anything we can do to reduce the number of people getting shingles and experiencing the pain involved is important. I ask the Minister of State to really impress on the Minister for Health how useful it would be to make the vaccine available, in particular to vulnerable over-50s and so on. I got the vaccine before I turned 50, so it is not only the over-50s who can get it.


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