* To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the differences which exist across the regions in the administration of the BCG vaccine, with children in the West, in particular , not receiving the vaccine until a considerable number of years after birth; and if the issue is one of funding, that additional funding be granted particularly in view of the increasing prevalence of anti-biotic resistant bacterial strains as confirmed recently by the Society for General Microbiology.
– Seán Kyne T.D.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) recommends that there is an universal BCG vaccination policy in place. Historically this happened in all parts of the country bar:
- In the West, the BCG was given at age 10-11 years and not at birth, this has continued with the agreement of NIAC
- In the South, BCG was not given at birth in Cork, this was recently replaced by a neonatal programme
The issue regarding antibiotic resistant bacterial strains as confirmed recently by the Society for General Microbiology is not relevant to whether BCG is available for newborns. The rates of multi drug resistant TB are very low (1-2 cases per year) and the rates of TB are lower in the West than in other parts of the country.