Strong consideration should be given to providing Meningitis B vaccine to every child – Clifford-Lee
Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has said given the recent outbreak of meningitis and the death of three people to the illness, the viability of providing the Meningitis B vaccine free to every child should be examined.
The Fingal based Senator said, "Here in Ireland, any child over the age of 3 will not have received immunisation for this strain of the illness. This is despite the fact that those aged 15-19 are also among those at highest risk. Meningitis B also tends to be more prevalent during these winter months and into early spring.
“Back in 2016 it came as great relief to parents of infants up to 12 months that the lifesaving injection would administered free of charge. For those older it can cost in the region of €280-€350 per person which for majority of families, especially those with a number of children this is simply not viable.
“It shouldn’t be the case in this day and age that a child’s health could be left in jeopardy on account of the high cost of a vaccine. There are thousands of young families across the North County that are potentially affected and need State support to protect their children against this illness. We therefore need to examine what we can do to make it free for every child most crucially those in areas at risk of a rapid outbreak.
“It’s worrying that the take up rates for all meningitis vaccines have fallen slightly in recent years but we can all do our bit to spread awareness of the importance of immunising children and young people.
“There is no question that these vaccines save lives and every child should be given an equal opportunity to receive them", concluded Senator Clifford-Lee.