The Minister for Health must come before Dáil Eireann to explain how 600,000 flu vaccine doses, enough to cover 1 in 6 of the adult population, seem to have evaporated and why this issue was not flagged at a meeting with party leaders last Friday evening, says Denis Naughten TD.
“The disclosure of this information means that there is 40% less flu vaccine in circulation to vaccinate vulnerable sections of the population when there is growing demand to get the flu jab,” stated Denis Naughten.
“This disclosure is bizarre considering that last Friday evening Paul Reid told the Taoiseach & party leaders in Government buildings that 1.35m flu vaccine jabs had been distributed but we now find that 50,000 have been held back in ‘ransom’ because another 600,000 have just disappeared.
“Last winter the HSE purchased 1.15m Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine and this year its plan was to increase this to 1.35m doses, just an extra 200,000 but we now find that there are potentially 400,000 less flu jabs available.”
Denis Naughten added: “The only way our health service can manage Covid-19 infection this winter is if we can rule out the possibility that the patient has flu, as the symptoms are so similar. This can only be achieved by a population-wide vaccination programme against the flu virus and the public must be actively encouraged to have the flu jab, and children the flu drops, this winter.
“However, if people go to the effort of protecting themselves, our older people and our health service by availing of the vaccine, the very thing we need to ensure is that people have access to the vaccine,” concluded Denis Naughten.