11/09/2019

Govt Seek To Improve Vaccination Rates

The Department of Health is bringing together a group to boost the uptake of childhood vaccines and reduce vaccine hesitancy.

The Vaccine Alliance will include healthcare professionals, policy makers, patient advocates, students, and representatives from groups most affected by vaccine hesitancy.

Research informing the work of the group shows that while the overwhelming majority believe vaccinating their child is extremely important, some parents have genuine concerns about the use of vaccinations. Healthcare professionals were perceived as the most trusted source of information and specific issues that need to be addressed were identified among vulnerable groups.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said: "The immense suffering that today's vaccine preventable diseases caused to children, families and societies 50 years ago should act as a constant reminder that we need to keep promoting and investing in our vaccination programme.

"Vaccination rates across the country are falling and diseases we had consigned to the history books are now making a comeback. We cannot afford to do nothing. We cannot allow the success of our childhood immunisation programme become its enemy.

"This Alliance will build on the success we have had with the HPV vaccine where rates increased from 51% to 70% in a short period of time and it will ensure parents have accurate, evidence-based information about vaccinations."

A Steering Group to guide the work of the Vaccine Alliance has already met and includes a wide range of organisations including Barnardos, Unicef Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Pavee Point, and the Union of Students of Ireland, as well as parents, doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists. Further organisations will be added once the vision, values and aims of the Alliance have been agreed.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the new Alliance will strengthen engagement across communities on vaccination and will build on the relationships that doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals already have as the most trusted source of vaccine-related information for parents and their children.

Minister Harris also announced that the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland has agreed to rename its Medal for Patient Advocacy, the 'Laura Brennan Advocacy Medal', in recognition of the late advocate's work in increasing the HPV vaccine uptake. Ms Brennan's parents attended the launch of the Vaccine Alliance.

The Alliance will be open to organisations and individuals that support its principles and its membership will be finalised between now and December.










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