Calls for clarity as Department of Health fails to offer new vaccines to infants

Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers says the public needs to understand what's happened

Flu, vaccine, HSE, HPSC, GP consultation, cold and flu, at risk groups, Dr Darina O'Flanagan

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The Department of Health is being urged to clarify why two new vaccines are not being offered to infants.

Additional Meningitis and Rotavirus vaccinations were due to be rolled out to babies from the start of last month - however, doctors say the department has failed to respond to their concerns over the increased workload.

GPs in the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) say they've proven successful internationally in protecting infants, and warned earlier today that the Government will miss a December 1st deadline to expand the childhood vaccination scheme.

The number of children struck by a debilitating virus rose fivefold last year.

More children were infected with rotavirus in the first four months of 2015 than in the whole of 2014 or in any other year except one since it became a notifiable illness in 2004.

In 2012, the worst year on record for the illness, the annual total reached 2,651.

Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers says the public needs to understand what's happening.

“It is extremely worrying that our public vaccination programme has been disrupted and not delivered as it should over the last number of months," he said. "The department must do its utmost to regain public confidence in our public health vaccination policy.

This is a matter of real concern given the dangers posed to newborn children from meningococcal disease and the fact that the Rotavirus disease remains a problem in Ireland results in almost 1,000 hospital admissions annually."