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Thursday 21 November 2019

GPs warned on child vaccines

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

GPs around the country have been warned to ensure they follow proper guidelines when administering childhood vaccines in order to fully protect their young patients from serious diseases.

The letter, alerting them to follow all the necessary steps set out by the manufacturer, was sent to GPs by the Health Service Executive (HSE) after it emerged that a doctor in west Dublin failed to give the correct amounts of vaccines to children.

Around 290 children and teenagers are now being offered a new set of vaccines to guard against them contracting illnesses such as meningitis or measles.

The young people were patients of Dr Derek Graham's surgery in Newcastle, west Dublin.

The HSE said the childhood vaccines given at the surgery were not properly prepared or administered in line with guidelines, leaving them ineffective. Clinics have been organised in Peamount Hospital in Dublin to give the young people a range of vaccines.

They need to receive vaccines against a range of illnesses including meningitis, mumps, whooping cough, pneumococcal disease, polio, German measles and tetanus.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said yesterday that appointments for 179 of the children to receive the vaccines have now been made.

Over 220 families who were on record as receiving the original ineffective jabs were written to and invited to avail of the new vaccines.

Asked if the HSE is satisfied everyone affected has been contacted, she said all the families on its records had been contacted.


Some of the children are believed to have been vaccinated in the late 1990s, but the error only came to light recently after queries by a parent.

It reviewed its database and "no case" of a disease which could have been prevented by the vaccine was reported in relation to the children involved.

A vaccination schedule will be recommended for each child depending on on their age and the vaccine involved.

The drugs watchdog, the Irish Medicines Board, told the Irish Independent that it had not received any reports of adverse drug reactions among children arising from the incident.

Ideally, children should have their jabs at the right age to protect them as early as possible and minimise the risk of infection.

There's a recommended timetable for routine childhood vaccinations which has been formulated to give children the best chance of developing immunity against common diseases safely and effectively.

The natural immunity to illness which newborn babies get from their mother begins to wear off at around two months of age.

Some illnesses are more common and worse in younger children.

Irish Independent

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