Data shows serious problems with vaccination uptake not tackled by HSE for years - Louise O'Reilly TD
Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has said that data released to her by the HSE and Department of Health show that problems around vaccination uptake were known going back as far as 2011.
Speaking this morning, Teach O’Reilly said:
“The recent outbreaks of infectious diseases across the State have prompted closer investigation of our immunisation programmes.
“Data released to me through a Parliamentary Question outlined the uptake rates for all vaccinations going back as far as 2011.
“Firstly it is quite worrying that this data only goes back as far as 2011, beyond that, the figures themselves outline a worrying variation in uptake rates across the State.
“Some areas register high uptake rates for certain vaccinations, but there are areas where uptake rates a either below the necessary uptake to achieve herd immunity (95%), and others where rates are derisory and constitute a significant public health risk.
“For instance, in the year 2015/16 the Meningitis C Booster only had a 72% uptake in North Central Dublin, the 4 in 1 Booster Vaccine only had an 87% uptake in North West Dublin, the MMR Booster only had a 87% uptake in the same area while Limerick and Dublin South only hit 88%.
"The figures for my own constituency of Dublin Fingal present a serious concern given the young average age of the population.
“The figures for the years going back beyond that are also equally as worrying with uptake rates for whole constituencies in the 70s or 80s.
“This data directly explains the serious surge in outbreaks of infectious diseases across the State for which there are vaccines which work.
“Furthermore, it shows that the Department of Health and the HSE knew there was a problem with vaccination rates for many years and yet nothing was done.
“The health service should have been using this data to identify problem areas, so they could get into these communities and educate parents on the benefits of vaccinations and counter myths and misinformation.
“Education is the key we need an effective awareness campaign about the benefits of vaccinations, as was done with the HPV vaccine - this means parents being informed in maternity hospitals, by the public health nurse, by their GP, and through the HSE and the media.
“We need to challenge the anti-vaxxers, expose them with the facts and the facts are that vaccinations work."