IMO & ICGP Raise Concerns With HSE Over the Administration Programme of Pertussis [Whooping Cough] Vaccination to Pregnant Women
The HSE in line with new recommendations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee has asked GPs to provide the vaccine for the pertussis (Whooping Cough) vaccination to pregnant women. This is in the context that the number of pertussis cases reported in September 2012 was more than double the number of cases reported for the same time period in 2011.
The IMO and the ICGP have jointly set out their position to the HSE and to date have received no response. At this juncture both the ICGP and IMO recommend that the most appropriate setting for administration of this vaccine is in the Public Health setting and not in General Practice.
Members concerns are summarised as follows:
The increase in Pertussis notifications is a Public Health issue. It is therefore surprising that the HSE Public Health Service is responding in the manner in which it is by delegating all responsibility for its management to General Practice rather than directly responding to the issue itself. Information for both health professionals and patients has been provided on the www.immunisation.ie website. The level of detail that would be needed by GPs to provide adequate counselling for pregnant women could be improved. Obstetricians need to ensure that this issue is discussed at antenatal clinics and a joint consistent approach is adopted by all health professionals that the patient will encounter. At present it would appear that no information is being provided on this vaccination at antenatal clinics.
There is no contract in place for General Practitioners to provide this additional service and the IMO, as the representative body for GPs, has not been consulted in this regard. As pregnant patients currently have to pay for both vaccine and its administration this is a barrier to uptake particularly in deprived areas and is a source of considerable concern.
Legal Clarification needs to be provided on Medical Indemnity Cover for General Practitioners who involve themselves in the provision of this vaccine. Such clarifications on this matter need to be provided to the IMO.
Therefore both the ICGP and IMO recommend that the most appropriate setting for administration of this vaccine is in the Public Health setting and not in General Practice.
To ensure best practise we recommend a public awareness campaign be undertaken by the HSE, similar to the UK / NHS approach for this most important Public Health issue
For further information contact:
Director of Communications &
Public Affairs, IMO
Tel: 01 6767 273