Simon Harris launches alliance to boost childhood vaccination rates

Simon Harris launches alliance to boost childhood vaccination rates

A new vaccine alliance with the aim of boosting the uptake of childhood vaccines will be open to organisations that “support its principles”.

The alliance will include healthcare professionals, policymakers, patient advocates, students, and representatives from groups most affected by what the Department of Health has described as “vaccine hesitancy”.

Membership of the alliance will be finalised between now and December and in the meantime, Health Minister, Simon Harris, is arranging to meet with social media companies to discuss their efforts in combatting vaccine misinformation.

“Vaccination rates across the country are falling and diseases we had consigned to the history books are now making a comeback,” said Mr Harris at the launch of the alliance in Dublin.

We cannot afford to do nothing. We cannot allow the success of our childhood immunisation programme to become its enemy.

Mr Harris said the alliance would build on the success they had with the HPV vaccine with rates increasing from 51% to 70% in a short time and it would ensure parents had accurate, evidence-based information about vaccinations.

A steering group to guide the work of the alliance has already met and includes a wide range of organisations including Barnardos, Unicef Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Pavee Point and the Union of Students of Ireland as well as parents, doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists.

Research carried out by the Department of Health to help inform the work of the alliance found that some parents have genuine concerns about the use of vaccines but most believe that vaccinating their child was extremely important.

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