Press Release

Minister Harney launches the 2008 Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

Ms. Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health and Children, today (Thursday 24 July 2008) launched the Immunisation Guidelines 2008 produced by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

The Minister said that“immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way to protect children against certain diseases. Immunisation against infectious disease has saved more lives than any other public health intervention, apart from providing clean water. The Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme provides for the immunisation of children against a range of potentially serious infectious diseases. Under the Programme, parents may have their children immunised free of charge.   The Programme is a key element of the health services in Ireland today and the schedule of immunisation is based on recommendations of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. The Minister thanked NIAC for the time and effort that went into the deliberations on this very important piece of public health work.”

The Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland 2008 update the previous NIAC guidance which was published in 2002. Significant new changes to the childhood immunisation schedule have been recommended. These include:

•Replacing the 5 in 1 vaccine with a 6 in 1 vaccine to include Hepatitis B vaccine  • The addition of Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) •Changes in the timing of Meningococcal C vaccine  •Changes in the timing of Haemophilus influenza vaccine (Hib)

The objective of the Childhood Immunisation Programme is to achieve 95% uptake and even though this rate has not yet been achieved in Ireland our uptake rates are rising steadily thanks to the efforts of all those involved in immunisation. The Minister said that we must continue to strive to achieve this target.

The Minister said”I would like to take this opportunity to once again urge all parents to have their children immunised against the diseases covered by the Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme in order to ensure that both their children and the population generally have maximum protection against the diseases concerned.”

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