Question to the Minister for Health (Dr. Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on plans to introduce a vaccine for meningitis B onto the national immunisation scheme; the contact that has been made between his Department, the Health Service Executive and the National Immunisation Advisory Council on the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN ANSWER on Wednesday, 4 March 2015.
The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health. The committee’s recommendations are informed by public health advice, international best practice, and a cost effective analysis conducted by the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics.
My Department has recently received a letter from the Chairman of NIAC regarding the introduction of the Meningitis B vaccine into the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule. In this letter the committee recommends the inclusion of Meningococcal B vaccine in the primary immunisation programme, if the vaccine can be made available at a cost-effective price. It should be noted that Meningococcal B vaccine has not been included in any population based immunisation programme by any other country.
NIAC has issued guidance in relation to the use of the Meningococcal B vaccine in the control of clusters or outbreaks of the disease. The vaccine has been used in accordance with the NIAC guidance, along with other measures, to control outbreaks of the disease.
The recommendation from NIAC is being considered by my Department.