Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has said any decline in vaccination rates affecting children is a cause of worry and effort must be made to encourage a greater uptake.

Leading disease watchdog, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that in recent years the uptake of the Meningitis C vaccine fell to 75% in north Dublin.

According to the HSE, the number of cases of meningococcal C disease in Ireland has been on the increase since 2013. Thirty cases of MenC disease which is dangerous and sometimes fatal were reported in 2017.

The Fingal based Senator said, “The World Health Organization advises that a 95% uptake of the vaccine is required to prevent outbreaks of this infectious disease. It’s difficult to comprehend that Ireland has never fulfilled this recommendation despite it being provided for free and as part of the very helpful schools immunisation programme.

“We must all work to dispel the dangerous myths shared by those against children receiving all of the recommended childhood vaccines including protecting against diseases such as MenC.

“Any drop in uptake is a matter of concern for us all given that vaccinations provided by the State against any form of meningococcal disease are absolutely essential.

“If a child has missed an opportunity to get the jab, I urge every parent or guardian to get in touch with our local HSE clinic to arrange for the child to be immunised,” she concluded.