State intervention to deal with affordability of meningitis B vax needed

11 January 2019

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has said that the fact that so many families are unable to afford vaccinations against meningitis speaks volumes about the class divide in Irish society.

Deputy Kelly said: 

“It is not acceptable that the Government are repeating ad nauseam to parents of children who missed their free meningitis B that they must vaccinate their children when they know full well that there is a huge cost barrier in place.

“Parents of young children are being asked to fork out up to €300 for meningitis B vaccines after what can be a financially stressful Christmas season. Many families, especially those who are less well off, are unable to afford to vaccinate their three year olds.

“Rather than lecture parents who are unable to afford this vaccine, the Government and HSE now have the opportunity to buy this vaccine in bulk to administer to children who would have missed out on this vaccine, and in turn this would significantly lower the costs.

“Low-income families are severely at risk because of the high cost associated with this vaccine, I’ve had many parents contact me in the last two days who are extremely frightened of the risks around meningitis but who are unable to afford to vaccinate their children.

“In 2019, it is almost Dickensian to hear the fear in parents’ voices when they explain their fears around the consequences of being unable to afford this vaccine.

“I’ll be contacting Minister Harris directly to discuss the need for State intervention in regard to providing this vaccine at a more affordable price point for parents and their children.”

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