Cllr. Éilis Ryan The Workers’ Party has today (Monday) called for the introduction of a mandatory scheme of vaccination for all children who use shared childcare and education schemes, including créches, play facilities, and public and private schools. The call comes in the wake of figures released today showing Ireland’s rate of uptake of tetanus and meningitis vaccinations dropped by 3 percentage points in 2017.

Responding to the figures, Cllr. Éilis Ryan of the Workers’ Party said:

“The figures back up what we already knew: misleading falsehoods about side-effects associated with vaccinations have led to a downturn in the numbers of parents availing of childhood vaccination schemes.

“We should not underestimate the danger of this trend. Last November, a baby died in the midlands from Whooping Cough. In this day and age, it is a scandal for any child to die from a preventable disease.”

Cllr. Ryan continued:

“In 2015, no country in the EU-17 had a tetanus/whooping cough vaccination rate below 90%. For Ireland to fall as low as 83.5% is therefore a major downturn. When vaccination rates drop below 90%, the ‘herd immunity’ benefits to infants and children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons begin to drop off.”

The Workers’ Party councillor concluded:

“For the current scheme of scheduled ‘school’ vaccinations – MMR, diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough etc. – it is sensible that any child wishing to attend an educational institution with other children should have to be vaccinated.

“In a democratic society, individual choice is always limited in cases where our choices have negative repercussions for others – particularly for the vulnerable. Vaccination is exactly such a case, and this is why it is already mandatory in many other western democracies.”