MENINGITIS WARNING: Vaccination targets way off in Kilkenny
By COLIN BARTLEY
UPTAKE of the Meningococcal C (‘MenC’) vaccine for Kilkenny children under the age of 24-months is falling well short of national targets, new figures reveal.
The 86% uptake for the immunisation of MenC is nearly 10 points below the national target of 95% set by the Department of Health.
The figures come from the Department of Health’s National Healthcare Quality Reporting System annual report published this week.
Meningococcal bacteria can cause meningitis, septicaemia (also known as “bloodstream infection”) or both. The disease can cause death or serious disability such as deafness, brain damage, or loss of limbs.
The slowdown in parents availing of the vaccine for their infants is a worry for the government, with Health Minister Simon Harris going as far as to say “vaccines save lives.”
Kilkenny children starting secondary school in September will be offered a new meningitis vaccine targeting strains of the disease that have become more common recently.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) announced it is providing the MenACWY – which protects against MenC and other types of meningococcal disease W and Y – to replace the MenC vaccine booster dose, introduced in 2014.