News Health

Tuesday 23 January 2018

New vaccine plan to fight killer strain of meningitis

Tony O'Brien
Tony O'Brien
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The HSE plans to offer young children a free vaccine against the deadly meningitis B strain, if the Coalition provides the money, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The HSE is asking the Government to pay for the roll-out of the vaccine along with another jab to protect children from the rotavirus, a common cause of diarrhoea and sickness.

But the HSE warns that patients could face drug rationing unless additional funding is allocated next year. The HSE says that without extra funding for cancer drugs it risks being unable to prescribe expensive medicines to combat the disease.

The funding proposals are contained in the HSE's list of financial demands - amounting to nearly €2bn - for the health service for 2016, as revealed in the Irish Independent yesterday.

Children under five and young adults are most at risk from meningitis B.

The strain kills more children under five than any other infectious disease. One in 10 of those who contract the disease will die and one in five survivors are left with life-changing disabilities, including limb amputation, brain damage and deafness.

The HSE is also proposing to offer adolescent boys the HPV vaccine, currently given to secondary-school girls to reduce their risk of cervical cancer.

The HPV virus is very common and is easily spread through sexual activity.

Irish Independent

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