Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (447)

Mary Butler


447. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of a national pertussis whooping cough vaccination programme for pregnant women in the health service. [30471/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is an independent committee which makes recommendations to my Department on vaccination policy in Ireland. In 2012, NIAC recommended a low dose tetanus (T), diphtheria (d) and acellular pertussis (p) booster (Tdap) to provide protection for babies in the first few months of life. In September 2013, the HSE made Tdap vaccine available free of charge for pregnant women via the National Cold Chain Delivery Service to GPs and maternity hospitals.

In September 2016, NIAC published new recommendations for Tdap:

- pregnant women should be offered Tdap as early as possible after 16 weeks and up to 36 weeks gestation in each pregnancy, to protect themselves and their infant;

- Tdap vaccine can be given at any time in pregnancy after 36 weeks gestation although it may be less effective in providing passive protection to the infant;

- Tdap vaccine should be offered in the week after delivery to those women who were not vaccinated during their pregnancy.

The pertussis vaccine is provided free of charge to pregnant women. Since November 2018 all pregnant women receive pertussis vaccination from their GP free of charge.