Thursday 29 September 2016

BCG supply delay until early 2016

Published 03/11/2015 | 02:30

Problems with BCG vaccine are set to continue. Stock photo.
Problems with BCG vaccine are set to continue. Stock photo.

Problems with the supply of the BCG vaccine, which is given to newborns to protect them from TB, will continue until at least the first quarter of 2016, according to the HSE.

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Health Minister Leo Varadkar said there is currently a worldwide shortage of BCG and Ireland is not the only country affected by this. There is only one licensed supplier of BCG vaccine to Ireland and to other countries within the EU.

The vaccine has not been available since the end of April 2015 and babies born after the last day of April have not been immunised.

Based on an estimated 5,500-6,000 babies born every month, this means that 33,000-36,000 babies are due to be vaccinated.

When the vaccine becomes available the HSE will arrange appointments for vaccination clinics when the BCG vaccine supply is received.

In 2014, 328 cases of TB were notified, the lowest rate reported since surveillance started. No cases of TB were recorded among children in Ireland last year, he added.

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