HEALTH Get Your Shots – the benefits of Vaccinations! I

love vaccinations! The eradication of polio, the dramatic reduction and near eradication of measles and the start of the demise of

meningitis C and more recently meningitis b has to be one of the foremost advances of modern medicine. I do practice what I preach with all three of my children receiving all their childhood vaccinations plus a few extra that are not yet funded by the government. The most important thing is to try to be on

time for all your child’s vaccinations – this is obvi- ously not possible all the time due to illness but if your child is not sick bite the bullet and get their

vaccines completed. Murphy’s Law if you wait for other reasons they will be sick by the time you get round to it. So put a reminder in your phone, pin it up on the wall and make your appointment with your doctor well in advance. If they are sick on the day ring to cancel as they probably won’t be vaccinated. The minute they are better re- book the appointment. I get great satisfaction and enjoyment from my

job as a GP but I really do have to try to be under- standing of that cohort of parents who decide not to vaccinate their children. I have to say I find this difficult. I feel that they put other children at

risk by not vaccinating their children. There are always some children who, due to

medical reasons, cannot receive their vaccina- tions and these children need every other child in Ireland to receive their vaccines so they will not get sick. It is called herd immunity i.e. if most of the children in your crèche/school are vaccinated there will not be an outbreak so the unvaccinated children will be fine. These kids or adults often have complex medi-

cal issues and measles or mumps could put them in hospital again. Therefore I feel when a parent makes a decision not to vaccinate their children it affects all the community not just that parents child. This is the end of my rant!! There is a new vaccine against meningitis B. It

has been introduced in the UK for all new-born babies. I did vaccinate my three children against meningitis B buying the vaccine myself. The incidence of meningitis B is low 170 cases

in Ireland per year but it is a devastating illness with 10% of those infected left with a disabili- ty. It is every parent’s nightmare. The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (why does everything in the government have such a long winded name!) finally after two years of delib- eration made a positive recommendation to the department of health provided “the vaccine can be made available at a cost effective price”. Now , the department of health along with the

HSE need to make a decision regarding intro- ducing the Men B vaccine onto the childhood immunisation schedule so every child in Ireland can benefit from this new vaccine. I want this vaccine for every child in Ireland. I

am lucky to be able to buy it for my three children but this is not case for everyone and to get some Herd Immunity it needs to be on the childhood schedule for every baby. If the NHS can do it so can we!

Dr. Mary Cooper

The Keogh Practice, Ballybricken, Waterford. Telephone: (051) 317600


Opening Times: 8.00am-6.00pm Out of hours emergency (Caredoc) Phone: 1850 334 999

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