Thursday, September 24, 2020

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: The Irish Times

ALL 1.35 million individual doses of the flu vaccine are due to be delivered in the State by the end of October according to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly (FF).

In a written reply to questions from Waterford TD David Cullinane and Cork East Deputy David Stanton (FG), Minister Donnelly stated: “The quantities of vaccine available to order by sites will be increased in line with the amounts received into the country. All shipments, totalling 1.35 million individual doses, are expected to be delivered before the end of October. The HSE is in daily contact with the manufacturer. The delivery of 600,000 doses of nasal vaccine to be used for children is not affected.”

Deputy Cullinane had asked Minister Donnelly “if adequate stockpiles of the flu vaccine have been secured; the reason for the delay in securing these and rolling out the flu vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter”.

Minister Donnelly noted the Government’s expansion of flu “vaccination without charge to all of those in the at-risk groups, including healthcare workers, and to all children aged from 2 to 12 years. It is proposed to administer the vaccines via GPs and pharmacists, as in previous years.”

He continued: “The expanded programme will ensure that those most vulnerable to the effects of influenza will have access to vaccination without charges. By providing vaccination to those most at-risk, and those most likely to require hospitalisation if they contract influenza, it is anticipated that the programme will see a reduction in the number of influenza-related hospital admissions, as well as a reduction in the overall spread of influenza in the community.”

The Minister told Deputies Cullinane and Stanton: “Following a delay in delivery from the manufacturer, the first deliveries

Waterford TD and Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson, David Cullinane.

of influenza vaccines for those in at-risk groups to all sites (GPs, pharmacists, nursing homes, etc) started on September 17th. For the initial deliveries, the quantities of influenza vaccine delivered to sites are the same as previous years.

“The quantities of vaccine available to order by sites will be increased in line with the amounts received into the country. All shipments, totalling 1.35 million individual doses, are expected to be delivered before the end of October. The HSE is in daily contact with the manufacturer. The delivery of 600,000 doses of nasal vaccine to be used for children is not affected.”

The Minister said the number of doses procured by the HSE “is sufficient to vaccinate all in the at-risk groups”.

He added: “The start date of the vaccination programme will be late September or early October, the same as in previous years. The vaccination programme for children is expected to commence from mid-October. The vaccination campaign will be accompanied by a comprehensive communications campaign to encourage the greatest possible take-up.”

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