Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has called on the Government to move swiftly to achieve a cost effective agreement on the introduction of a meningitis B vaccination.

“The UK has reached agreement to provide the Meningitis B vaccine to all babies at a cost of £20 a dose. If this vaccine can be supplied at such a price in Northern Ireland I see no reason why it can’t happen on this side of te border,” said Deputy Kelleher. 

“No illness in young children causes greater fear, anxiety or distress amongst parents than meningitis, a disease that can kill or disable. On top of that, here in Ireland we have the highest incidence of meningococcal disease in Europe. Meningitis B makes up more than half of these cases.

“In the UK researchers have estimated that the long-term costs to the health service of a severe case of the disease can exceed £3 million.  That’s €4.1 million.

“I am urging the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to act swiftly on this.  Without the Men B vaccine, there is a major gap in our vaccination process for babies and children.  Given the British Government’s success at securing an extremely cost-effective deal to provide this vaccine to all babies in the UK, there is no reason why the Irish Government cannot secure a similar agreement.  This should be done without further delay.”