Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (653)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

653. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health his plans to include a chicken pox vaccine as part of the national immunisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9732/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health. The committee's recommendations are informed by public health advice, international best practice and by the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE). Varicella vaccination is currently recommended by the NIAC for at-risk groups including:

- Healthcare workers without a definite history of chickenpox, or proof of immunity, particularly those working with haematology, oncology, obstetrical, general paediatric or neonatal patients

- Laboratory staff who may be exposed to varicella virus in the course of their work

- Healthy susceptible close household contacts of immunocompromised patients.