Seanad debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Vaccination Programme

10:30 am

Photo of Martin HeydonMartin Heydon (Kildare South, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Senator. As already stated, I am responding on behalf of the Minister for Health. Unfortunately, the funding details Senator Horkan requested have not been provided. However, I am led to believe that funding is not the key consideration here. We obviously have a national immunisation programme that is well funded. If the strong opinion NIAC comes to at the end of its review comes to that point, I do not expect that funding to be a key element of that decision-making process.

There are other elements, as outlined in the response, which show the importance of the vaccine and of making sure that it is fit for purpose. It is important that this issue has been raised today because vaccination is recognised as one of the most cost-effective and successful public interventions that exists. Vaccines save many lives every year, so there is always a strong financial case to why a vaccine would work if it is proven not to have negative impacts. This vaccine should be subject to the same rigorous process we use when analysing all other vaccines.

The Senator will be aware that the immunisation programme is operated on the basis of advice from NIAC. The committee's recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practice in the context of immunisation. As already stated, the Minister has requested that HIQA carry out a health technology assessment to review the case. We look forward to seeing the result of that assessment as soon as possible.


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