Chickenpox Vaccine must be included in National Immunisation Programme
- Time to make flu vaccine free for all
Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith TD is urging the Minister for Health to add the chickenpox vaccine to the National Immunisation Programme, making it free for all rather than the current cost of €90.
As the INMO continues to report an increase in respiratory related illnesses entering our hospitals, Deputy Smith reiterated Labour’s demand to make the flu vaccine free for all.
Deputy Smith said:
“The chickenpox vaccine is an effective way of protecting children from a highly contagious disease. However, we know that the cost of the vaccine is a barrier for many families. €90 is a real barrier for many families who want to get the chicken pox vaccine for their children. We need to take a practical approach. It’s time for the Minister to add the chickenpox vaccine to the National Immunisation Programme so that it is free for all children, not just those who can afford it.
“Chickenpox does not have to be an inevitable part of childhood, it can be avoided through the vaccine. Providing it free of charge would not only reduce the number of incidences, it would also prevent parents from having to use up precious leave entitlements in order to take time off work.
“I also re-iterate our annual call in Labour for the flu vaccine to be made available for all. Many people who are not eligible for the free vaccine choose not to get it because of the cost. It’s beyond time to make the flu vaccine free for everyone.
“Investing in public health is one of the best investments we can make. By adding the chickenpox vaccine to the National Immunisation Programme and making the flu vaccine free for all we can protect our children, our elderly, those at work and our most vulnerable citizens. These measures will also reduce the burden on the healthcare system and staff.
“These measures would help to protect public health, reduce the burden on the healthcare system, and save families money. I urge the Minister to act on these important issues, particularly before winter flu season”