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Free Flu Vaccine for children welcome but national vaccination database also required – Whitmore

Social Democrats TD and Spokesperson for Children, Jennifer Whitmore, has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Health that the Flu Vaccine will be available to all children free of charge. This is something the Social Democrats have previously called for and say is a much-needed measure to ensure good vaccination rates that are not dependent on a household’s income.

But the Social Democrats also believe that a National Database for Immunisation Records is required to streamline the vaccination process and ensure caregivers and families have access to all relevant vaccination information in one centralised place.

Jennifer Whitmore TD said:

“I warmly welcome the Minister’s decision to provide the Flu Vaccine to all children free of charge -this is a hugely important step but one, I believe which should be combined with another much-needed measure in the vaccination process in Ireland. Currently, there is no national database for immunisation records in Ireland. According to the HSE website, vaccines given by GPs and HSE doctors and nurses are held in local health offices, which you have to contact to request a copy of your records. For even the most diligent of parents, it can be hard to keep track of your children’s vaccines and have to rely on calls to your GP or health centre to fill in the blanks.

“It makes sense to set up a National Vaccination Register to collect vaccine information on each person from birth onwards, including flu jabs and other vaccines adults may require, particularly as we get older. A national register would also be a valuable resource for our health authorities, allowing them to monitor vaccine uptakes rates on a geographic and demographic basis. This would enable an early detection system to operate – if a pattern emerged that vaccine uptakes in Meath were low, then parents of children there could be quickly targeted with public health messages. It would mean parents and patients, as well as health professionals, could log on to check vaccination records as required.

“It would appear we are coming into a period whereby we will all require new vaccines and will need to be more vigilant about which vaccines we have.”

18th May 2020

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