Athy mother says she can't afford to vaccinate all her 4 children against Meningitis B

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Athy mother says she can't afford to vaccinate all her 4 children against Meningitis B
22:40 Thursday 10th of January 2019
 A Co Kildare mother with four children says they are not vaccinated against Meningitis B due to financial constraints.
Samantha Kenny local election candidate in Athy for the Social Democrats has four children, none of whom have been vaccinated against Meningitis B due to financial constraints, 1 of whom has a rare genetic syndrome and for whom meningitis is literally a case of life and death.
Ms Kenny said: "With the news that more cases of Meningitis are being reported this week, it’s important to note that as it stands due to the restrictions placed on the vaccination schedule a majority of children are only protected for one strain of meningitis and that is meningitis C."
She said:"Children born prior to October 2016 cannot avail of the current schedule which also covers a second strain of meningitis, meningitis B. When the schedule was changed there was no catch up programme put into effect and this means many children have been left behind and are not protected."
Ms Kenny said:“Ava has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, it’s a genetic deletion of part of the short arm of chromosome 4.  Ava has many issues due to this syndrome including being unable to walk and talk, a vision and hearing impairment, a severe developmental delay, a growth restriction and refractory epilepsy.  When Ava gets sick she doesn’t cope as well as her siblings, we have had A & E visits for regular flu due to becoming dehydrated and the onset of seizures.”
She said:“Meningitis for Ava isn’t a case of will she be hospitalised, it’s a case of will she be on a regular ward in the hospital that knows her so well or in ICU in one of the 2 hospitals she doesn’t attend.”
Samantha has in the past petitioned for the meningitis B vaccination to be made available for her daughter.
She said:“Our practice nurse has petitioned to the immunisation department on Ava’s behalf, we have had the support of our paediatrician, but like so many other children with similar issue to Ava we were denied and told we could avail of the vaccination as a private patient at a cost of €140 per injection and two injections are needed.  This means that I have to find over a €1,000 to vaccinate all four of my children or pick which children I can afford to vaccinate based on which one is most as risk, as a parent that’s a horrible predicament to be in”
Samantha is calling on the HSE to roll out a catch up programme for those born before 2016 to avail of the vaccination so that parents can access this vaccination without the worrying cost.
She said:“All parents should have the availability to vaccinate their children, not availability based on date of birth or whether they have enough money left at the end of the week which know in this day and age is quite often unheard of”

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