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Urgent swine flu vaccination programme needed for vulnerable groups

29 July, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Dublin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has called on the Department of Health to deliver a targeted swine flu vaccination programme for drug users and front line health workers.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“High-risk groups include young people and those with long-term illnesses. Drug users suffer from a myriad of health problems including HIV, AIDs, Hepatitis and respiratory problems, all of which make them susceptible to additional infection. As the swine flu symptoms are similar to the regular flu drug users might not seek medical advice which in turn could increase the rate of infection in communities.

“However drug users are an easily identifiable group so a vaccination programme could be easily rolled out through the various health and support services they access on a regular basis. In the absence of a national vaccination programme the HSE needs to identify vulnerable groups and ensure they are vaccinated against the swine flu in order to slow down the spread of this potentially fatal illness.

“Front line health workers must be vaccinated against swine flu as a matter of urgency. The existence of MRSI in our hospitals is evidence alone of how quickly and fatally infection can spread in hospitals. Workers must be protected from patients presenting to hospitals unaware that they are carrying the virus and in equal measure patients must be protected from swine flu when being admitted to hospital.” ENDS

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