Written Answers. - Vaccination Programme.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

541 Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Health and Children the proposals, if any, he has to provide inoculation against pneumonia for the elderly as in the United Kingdom. [1125/99]

Arrangements were made in 1997 and 1998 for the purchase of initial stocks of pneumococcal vaccine for administration to general medical service patients with certain medical conditions which placed them in the at-risk category for this disease. The most recent advice of the immunisation committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland is that the elderly should now also be categorised as an at-risk group in relation to pneumococcal infection.

A sum of £500,000 has been provided in 1999 to meet the costs of purchasing further stocks of pneumococcal vaccine and of its administration by general practitioners to GMS patients in the at-risk groups. Discussions have commenced with the Irish Medical Organisation with a view to agreeing an appropriate fee for the administration of the vaccine to these patients.