New-Born Vaccination Programme To Be Extended

The Department of Health (DoH) and Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) have agreed the extension of a vaccination scheme for new-born babies.

The DoH has agreed to provide GPs with an additional €80 a year for administering new Meningitis B and Rotavirus vaccinations, in addition to the existing schedule of vaccines.

Announcing the new deal, Minister for Health Simon Harris TD said: "I am very pleased that I am in a position to add Meningitis B and Rotavirus to the Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme. This will make further improvements to public health. I am also pleased that I have the support of GPs to deliver it and I want to thank the IMO for their engagement on delivering this Programme. I look forward to continued positive and constructive dialogue with the IMO and GPs, in particular in relation to the development of a new and modernised GP contract."

All babies born on, or after, the 01 October 2016 will receive vaccines for Meningococcal B (Men B) and Rotavirus disease in addition to the other childhood vaccines currently given. The first doses of these vaccines are given at two months of age, which means that the first babies are due to begin receiving these vaccines from the beginning of December.

Dr. Padraig McGarry, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, said: "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.

He concluded: "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." 


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