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Minister confirms free flu vaccine for poultry workers

18 November, 2005


Responding to Cavan-Monaghan Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, a Government Minister has confirmed that the scheme of free flu vaccine for workers in the poultry sector is being implemented. Deputy Ó Caoláin had sought clarification that the scheme was being rolled out following representations to him from people working in the sector in his constituency who had sought the vaccine from a GP but were told that full payment was required.

Minister John O'Donoghue replied on behalf of the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney. He confirmed that "the HSE has advised that arrangements are under way to provide the vaccination and I am satisfied that the vaccination programme will be implemented in full. Vaccine supplies are available and particular focus is being placed on those counties with a high concentration of poultry farms - Cavan, Monaghan, Cork, Limerick and Waterford."

Deputy Ó Caoláin had raised the matter on the adjournment of the Dáil. Welcoming the Minister's confirmation, he said, "The comprehensive immunisation of those working in the poultry sector is essential in order to help prevent infection with both the human flu and the avian flu and the development of a mutant virus which would then trigger a human flu pandemic. This can happen if someone suffering from the human form of the virus contracts the avian variety at the same time. I have publicly urged all poultry workers to take up the vaccine as soon as possible. The HSE needs to ensure maximum publicity for this scheme and full accessibility." ENDS

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