Local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has hit out what he says is the HSE’s ‘halt’ to the School Vaccination Programme.
The Laois based TD has called the move ‘inexcusable’ and says similar programmes are taking place in neighbouring counties.
He said: “the suspension of the 20/21 school vaccination programme in all the Midlands counties in inexcusable.
“The roll out of the programme was suspended on the 9th of November. Children in both primary and secondary schools have not been vaccinated as normal since then, even though front line community nurses are there and available to proceed with the programme.
“My information is that there is also a plentiful supply of vaccines for all the required immunisation of school going children.
“It is widely accepted that these vaccines are essential to prevent measles, mumps, rubella, along with cervical cancer and other medical conditions in later life.
“HSE management are refusing to allow this to proceed as normal.
“While it may have been necessary to suspend immunisation during the first lockdown in March and April, as public health nurses were redeployed to carry out Covid testing, the situation is very different now.
“Hundreds of community covid testers have been trained up and are available in the meantime to do the Covid swabs.
“School vaccination programmes are proceeding apace in other regions including in Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary.
“So why not Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath which are included in the HSE designated region of CHO 8?
“The provision of immunisation in schools is very effective, in that the take up is much higher as large numbers of children are present in single settings.
“It is essential that the front-line services such as this and which are preventative in nature are operational and available.
“While there are many shortcomings within our health system, these vaccination programmes are among the things that are done very well.
“I have contacted the Minister for Health to have this matter resolved and intend to press for the vaccination programme to proceed without delay.”