Written answers

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Department of Health

Vaccination Programme

Photo of Thomas PringleThomas Pringle (Donegal South West, Independent)
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130. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to ensure that the meningitis B vaccination is introduced into the national immunisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44475/14]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Minister, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). The NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health. To date, NIAC has not made any recommendation in relation to the use of Meningitis B vaccine in the primary childhood immunisation programme in Ireland. However, NIAC has issued guidance in relation to the use of the Meningitis B vaccine in the control of clusters or outbreaks of Meningococcal B disease.

Should NIAC recommend the inclusion of MenB vaccine into the primary childhood immunisation programme, the Department of Health, in association with the HSE National Immunisation Office will examine the issue.

Meningococcal disease is caused by the Meningococcal bacteria. It is a notifiable disease under the Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 452 of 2011).

The Weekly Infectious Disease Report for week 45, published by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre on 12 November 2014, indicates that there have been 37 cases of Meningococcal disease notified up to 8 November 2014. This is a decrease of 12 on the same period in 2013.

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