Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers has said the agreement reached between the IMO & Department of Health to introduce the Meningitis B and Rotavirus vaccinations beginning December 1st, is good news for newborns and their parents.

The Department has agreed to provide GPs with an additional €80 a year for administering the two new vaccines in addition to the existing schedule of vaccines.

Commenting on the announcement this afternoon Deputy Chambers said, ”The delay in delivering this vaccination programme, which was committed to by government, had been a growing concern for many families of newborn babies nationwide.

“Meningococcal disease poses significant dangers to newborn children and the fact that the Rotavirus disease remains a problem in Ireland with almost 1,000 hospital admissions annually.

“This dispute over fees had the potential to develop into a serious public health concern but I am relieved that the situation has been rectified. I am relieved that stakeholders recognised that any further delay in administering these vaccinations jeopardises the health of many newborn babies in Ireland.

“Earlier this year we experienced serious long term delays and a de-facto departure from our public health vaccination policy in the failure to procure the BCG vaccination. I will continue to lobby the government to deliver the expansion of the childhood vaccination scheme and the department’s decision to positively widen its strategy.

“There is clear and irrefutable evidence that vaccinations are effective at deterring unnecessary disease and illness, despite negative campaigning from some fronts. The department must do its utmost to regain public confidence in our public health vaccination policy and ensure that all children born after October 1st of this year will be vaccinated against the two additional illnesses without delay.”