Irish Medical Organisation

IMO reaches agreement with Department of Health on extending vaccination scheme for new-born babies

Tuesday 22nd November 2016.  GPs in the IMO have welcomed the terms of an agreement with the Department of Health to provide additional resources to GPs to enable them to extend the vaccination scheme for new-born babies on schedule from the 1st December. 

Dr. Padraig McGarry, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO said that ; “the introduction of these additional vaccines is an important public health policy and it is critical that it is resourced appropriately.  This agreement is good for newborns and their parents, it will improve health outcomes for children and will ensure that the vaccines continue to be delivered in General Practice where the work of GPs has ensured high uptake rates of essential vaccine programmes.   We acknowledge in particular the determination of the Minister for Health to personally ensure that this programme was resourced appropriately and we urge him to now consider a wider programme for Pertussis and Flu Vaccine for pregnant women.”

Dr. McGarry said that the IMO hoped that agreement on this issue would set a positive tone for future engagement between the IMO and the HSE / Department of Health on the negotiation of a new GP Contract which is urgently needed; “We don’t underestimate the challenge ahead in trying to secure vital resources and support for a fit-for-purpose modern GP Contract but if we don’t move ahead now and get much needed resources into general practice we can have no hope of moving care into a GP led community setting which we know is better for the patient.” 

The additional vaccines are for Meningococcal B/MenB and Rotavirus.  Ireland has the highest rate of invasive meningococcal disease in Europe and MenB disease is the major cause of these infections which can cause severe illness and death.  Rotavirus disease is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in children and results in 1,000 hospital admissions each year.  Both vaccines are widely used internationally and have a proven effectiveness.

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