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Delay in TB inoculations for Our Babies


(Image Credit: Irish Independent)

Delay in TB inoculations for Our Babies

Increasingly under fire Health Minister, Leo Varadkar has announced that TB vaccinations might not be available until March 2016.  There are currently 18,000 babies waiting to be injected with the BCG inoculations due to problems with the Danish supplier.  If this problem continues until March there could be as much as 60,000 babies waiting for their vaccinations.  Tuberculosis is still affecting the lives of people here in Ireland, with around 6 people per week being diagnosed with the deadly disease.  The HSE have tried to source other suppliers but their attempts have been unsuccessful.  Fianna Fáil spokesman for children, Robert Troy said that parents are extremely concerned about the long waiting lists.

The Irish Patients Association have came out and said ‘lives could be put at risk’.  Babies who have not received their vaccinations are likely to have an increased risk of contracting infections.  Stephen McMahon from The Irish Patients Association said ‘It seems strange that there are such production problems.  Immunisations are vital to protect the lives of babies as well as all other age groups. There needs to be a review as to how the supply chain was interrupted because ultimately lives could be put at risk, and some people may also forget then to go back and get the jab.’This situation needs to be addressed with a public explanation for why it is not available.  What are the contingency plans to ensure these babies get the supply they need in time? There is something seriously wrong here.’

Mr Troy said the Government should ensure that the waiting list doesn’t continue to grow.  ‘I believe this is further evidence of the mismanagement of our health service while the government continues to over compromise and under deliver’.  ‘The onus is on the Government to deliver and ensure the vaccine is made available.  We are talking about our children here.’ ‘There is obvious concern now by virtue of the fact that 18,000 are on a waiting list.  We are not talking here about a vaccine that people may or may not use.  This is a vaccine to be given to every child.’

Mr Varadkar explained ‘Production of new product will not commence until August 2015 due to lengthy analysis and release procedure, vaccines from this production will not become available until the end of 2015 or start of 2016.  ‘As a result, there were limits to the quantities that can be ordered and delays on deliveries.  The supplier does not expect the delivery situation to be resolved until the first quarter of 2016 at the earliest.’

A HSE spokesman said ‘since this problem became apparent, the HSE National Immunisation Office has been in regular contact with the manufacture of BCG and the Health Products Regulatory Authority.  The HPRA have been seeking to find an alternative supply of BCG that meets safety, quality and effectiveness standards.  To date, no alternative supply of BCG has been found.’

TB is a notoriously dangerous disease that was all but wiped out in Ireland by Minister for Health Noel Browne in the 1950s. These inoculations are incredibly important to control the spread of the disease.

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