Importance of childhood immunisation highlighted

Public health campaign comes in wake of measles epidemic in Wales

A public health campaign launched by Minister for Health James Reilly today will highlight the importance of childhood immunisation

A public health campaign launched by Minister for Health James Reilly today will highlight the importance of childhood immunisation

Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 15:05

The Minister for Health James Reilly launched a public health campaign today to highlight the importance of childhood immunisation in preventing serious diseases.

It is being launched to coincide with European Immunisation Week and was developed by Pfizer and supported by the HSE.

The campaign comes after a measles epidemic in Wales claimed the life of a 25-year-old man. Health officials there are dealing with 808 cases of the disease and are inoculating record numbers in the region in an effort to control the spread.

The HSE is currently carrying out a catch-up campaign in secondary schools for teenagers who did not get the vaccine or the correct number of doses as children. Details are available on www.immunisation.ie

Dr Reilly said vaccination was recognised as one of the most successful and effective public health interventions for saving lives and promoting good health.

“Prevention is a key goal in healthcare and the ability of vaccines to prevent illness and death associated with many serious diseases is one of the success stories of scientific innovation,” he said.

Dr Brenda Corcoran of the HSE’s National Immunisation Office said people cannot afford to be complacent.

“Our take up rate for most vaccinations is quite high – at 95 per cent - but it is 92 per cent for measles. It needs to be at 95 per cent to prevent outbreaks. We had 60 cases in West Cork last year and 250 cases in North Dublin the year before. We need to be vigilant,” she said.

“Parents and carers need to remember that children need to complete the full immunisation schedule to ensure they are adequately protected.”

She said people tend to forget just how serious illnesses like measles can be because they are not seen as much as they used to be – thanks largely to vaccines.

“Measles is a highly infectious disease and can lead to pneumonia, convulsions and death. This campaign will highlight the importance of vaccination”

The campaign includes a TV, radio and bus shelter ad which goes live today