Ireland's recommended immunisation programme is based on the guidelines of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. These guidelines are prepared with the assistance of an active committee from associated disciplines in paediatrics, infectious diseases, general practice and public health. Vaccines are continually evolving and guidelines change given the nature of these developments.
The inclusion of the pneumococcal vaccine in the Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme is being considered by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee as part of its review of the immunisation guidelines. No decision has yet been reached. My Department and the Health Service Executive will be guided by the expert advice from the NIAC in this regard.
The Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland currently recommend vaccination against pneumococcal disease for persons who are at increased risk of the disease and its complications, particularly for those with:
Asplenia or severe dysfunction of the spleen, including surgical splenectomy
Chronic renal disease or nephrotic syndrome
Chronic heart, lung or liver disease illness including cirrhosis
Sickle cell disease
Immunodeficiency or immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including HIV infection at all stages
Patients with CSF leaks, either congenital or complicating skull fracture or neurosurgery
Persons aged 65 years or older.