Written Answers. - Vaccination Programme.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

643 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the extent to which school health inspections and vaccinations programmes are advanced; if these programmes are in accord with internationally accepted norms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2203/99]

The provision of child health services in schools is the statutory responsibility of the health boards. The service is based on a comprehensive medical examination of selected classes and/or on referrals from schools. In addition, screening for vision and hearing defects of selected classes is routinely undertaken. Services are provided free of charge for all necessary follow-up services for defects discovered at such examinations. A review of child health services has been carried out by the health board chief executive officers, and a report is expected to be submitted to my Department shortly.

In relation to children's immunisations, health boards are also responsible for their administration. The primary childhood immunisation programme is delivered by general practitioners and the booster programme is delivered by the health boards in schools or special clinics. Both programmes are in accordance with the schedule recommended by the Immunisation Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in its booklet "Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland". The committee is currently reviewing these guidelines and the review is expected to be completely shortly.