Government agrees to extend vaccination scheme for babies

Department of Health agrees to provide GPs with extra €80 a year to administer vaccines

GPs have reached agreement with the Department of Health on extending the vaccination scheme for new-born babies.

Two new vaccinations, for Meningococcal B/MenB and Rotavirus, will be given to babies from December 1st following the agreement between the Irish Medical Organisation and the Department.

The IMO has welcomed the terms of an agreement with the Department, which provide for GPs to be paid an additional €80 a year for administering the two new vaccines in addition to the existing schedule of vaccines.

Dr Padraig McGarry, chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, described the introduction of the additional vaccines as an important public health policy. “This agreement is good for newborns and their parents, it will improve health outcomes for children and will ensure that the vaccines continue to be delivered in general practice where the work of GPs has ensured high uptake rates of essential vaccine programmes.

“We acknowledge in particular the determination of the Minister for Health to personally ensure that this programme was resourced appropriately and we urge him to now consider a wider programme for Pertussis and Flu Vaccine for pregnant women.”

Dr McGarry said the IMO hoped that agreement on this issue would set a positive tone for future engagement between it and the HSE/Department on the negotiation of a new GP Contract.

Ireland has the highest rate of invasive meningococcal disease in Europe and MenB disease is the major cause of these infections which can cause severe illness and death.

Rotavirus disease is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in children and results in 1,000 hospital admissions each year.

Both vaccines are widely used internationally and are proven to be effective.

Under the agreement, the fee paid to GPs for administering vaccines will increase from €300 to €380 per year.