The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) is calling for a national Meningitis B catch up vaccination programme for children born before October 2016, up to the age of 18.
It comes in light of the announcement this week of 3 deaths from meningitis, and Dr Maitiu O Tuathail, President of the NAGP, is urging parent to contact their GP if they have any worries in relation to the disease.
He said: “GPs across the country have been inundated with concerned parents. Many parents whose children have not been vaccinated against Meningitis B, have requested that their children be vaccinated as soon as possible. Unfortunately the HSE does not provide for Meningitis B vaccination for children born before October 2016. The vaccine was only introduced to newborns from October 2016”.
As a result of this, parents are being forced to pay up €450 for the vaccination with fears that this cost may prove prohibitive for some families.
Dr O’Tuathail continued; “This is medical apartheid, where only those who can afford the vaccine are vaccinated, but those who cannot are not. This leads to significant parental stress and anxiety.”
“We are calling on the Minister for Health Simon Harris, to immediately address this inexcusable inequality. We cannot allow it to continue. We need to provide protection to all of our children equally”.
“The children of Ireland deserve equality in terms of vaccination coverage, this is currently not the case”.