Two new vaccines introduced to HSE childhood immunisation schedule: November 2016

Children in Ireland amongst best protected in Europe as Two new vaccines introduced to HSE  childhood immunisation schedule

Children in Ireland will be amongst the best protected in Europe against infectious diseases following the introduction of two new vaccines to the childhood immunisation schedule.

Two new vaccines which will protect babies against Meningococcal B disease and rotavirus disease will be given to all babies born on or after 1 October 2016.

Dr Brenda Corcoran, Head of the HSE National Immunisation Office today stated:  “Ireland is the second country in Europe after the UK to introduce meningococcal B vaccine.  Meningococcal B disease is a serious bacterial infection which can cause meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning).  Meningococcal B causes most of the infections and deaths from meningitis of young children in Ireland.  The Men B vaccine will reduce these infections and deaths.  The vaccine is safe and effective and is given in many countries around the world.  All children born on or after 1 October 2016 should get the Men B vaccine at their 2, 4 and 12 month visits.

 

When babies are given Men B vaccine with the other childhood vaccines they are more at risk of developing a fever.  To reduce the risk of fever, all children should be given three doses of liquid infant paracetamol after their 2 and 4 month vaccines.  Paracetamol is not needed when Men B vaccine is given at 12 months as the risk of fever is less.”

 

Dr Corcoran added:  “Rotavirus is a viral infection which causes diarrhoea and vomiting in infants and young children.  It is very infectious and can be spread easily through hand to mouth contact and through coughing and sneezing.  Most children will recover at home but some need to be admitted to hospital.  Every year in Ireland around 900 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital with rotavirus infection.  The average length of time they spend in hospital is five days.

 

“The rotavirus oral vaccine will reduce these infections and hospital admissions.  The vaccine is safe and effective and is given to all children in many other countries, including the UK, the US  and Australia.  All children born on or after 1 October 2016 should get the rotavirus vaccine at their 2 and 4 month visits.  The rotavirus oral vaccine is given as a liquid dropped into the mouth of a child.  Most children have no problems after the vaccine.  Very rarely, a child might develop a blockage in their gut (called intussusception) which can be treated in hospital.  Rotavirus vaccine cannot be given on or after eight months of age as the risk of a blocked gut is greater in older children so it is important children get the vaccine on time to get the best protection.”

About 66,000 babies are born every year in Ireland.  Babies born on or after October 1st will receive the new schedule when they reach 2 months of age so the first babies will receive the new vaccines on or after 1 December 2016.

There is no change to the number of GP visits - five GP visits are still required when babies are 2, 4, 6, 12 and 13 months of age to fully protect children from 13 infectious diseases.  All the recommended childhood immunisations are free of charge.  The new vaccines will be introduced as part of the overall schedule which is listed below.

 

 

Old Schedule

New Schedule                                                                          

Babies born on or after 1st October 2016

Age

Vaccine

No. of injections

Vaccine

No. of injections

(months)

2

6in1 + PCV

2

6in1 + PCV + MenB

+ Rotavirus

3

+ oral vaccine

4

6in1 + MenC

2

6in1 + MenB

+ Rotavirus

2

+ oral vaccine

6

6in1 + PCV

2

6in1 + PCV + MenC

3

12

MMR + PCV

2

MMR + MenB

2

13

MenC + Hib

2

Hib/MenC + PCV

2

Dr Corcoran concluded: “The HSE has produced lots of information for parents.  Over 3,000 Practice Nurses, GPs and HSE staff have also attended training sessions on the new schedule.”

A comprehensive new section on the immunisation website has been developed for the new schedule which includes updated Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee. Visit www.immunisation.ie

In addition, the HSE National Immunisation Office has worked with the ICGP to develop an e-learning module on the new schedule which was launched this week.

 

Last updated on: 28 / 11 / 2016