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Dublin: 4°C Thursday 9 December 2021

Children won't get vaccines for TB until June, but Leo says it's not a problem

The BCG vaccine is delayed.

THE HEALTH MINISTER says that there is no health threat due to a temporary shortage of the BCG vaccine.

The vaccine was due to be delivered in March, but has been delayed until at least June. That is because there is only one licensed manufacturer of the vaccine in the EU which has told health authorities that the shipment would be delayed until at least next month.

The vaccinations are given to babies at birth to protect against tuberculosis. It is regarded as an essential medicine by the World Health Organisation, meaning it is needed to run even a basic health system.

However, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said that despite there being 107 TB cases reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre this year, none was for a child under four.

Speaking in the Dáil last week, Varadkar said the situation was not a threat to public health.

BCG vaccination clinics in HSE Clinics and Maternity hospitals have been deferred until new stock arrives. The HSE is in close contact with the vaccine manufacturer to expedite delivery of new stock as soon as possible and local Health Centres will arrange appointments for BCG vaccination clinics when the BCG vaccine supply is restored.

“No cases of TB were reported in Ireland in children less than four years of age in 2014. There is no threat to public health from this temporary vaccine shortage.”

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