Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Questions (152)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

152. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health if he has discussed with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the possibility of making entry to State funded or recognised crèches conditional on children having received childhood vaccinations; his plans to introduce such a stipulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42362/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

It is important to note that vaccine hesitancy is not unique to Ireland. It is a global issue and has been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of the ten leading threats to global health in 2019.

One of my priorities as Minister for Health is to increase vaccination rates across the country and several options in this area are being explored. In this regard, I wrote to the Attorney General (AG) to seek legal advice as to the Constitutionality of introducing schemes of mandatory vaccination. The requested legal advice was recently received and is currently being reviewed by my Department.

I have also written to the Minister for Children to provide her with a copy of the AG's advice and to advise that once an ongoing review related to these issues by the Health Research Board has been completed a meeting will be arranged with her to discuss possible next steps.

In addition, I launched the Vaccine Alliance in September. Its aim is to increase the uptake of childhood vaccines and reduce vaccine hesitancy. The group includes a wide range of organisations and further organisations will be added once the terms of reference, key target audiences, and priorities for the Vaccine Alliance have been agreed.