The National Immunisation Office (NIO) is a coordinating unit within the Directorate of Population Health of the Health Service Executive (HSE).
HPV vaccination programme
Following recommendations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), the Minister for Health and Children announced that the HPV vaccine would be introduced into the national immunisation programme in 2010 as part of the national strategy to protect females from cervical cancer. HPV vaccine was offered to all girls in First and Second year of second level schools in 2010 and age equivalent in special schools. Girls outside of the traditional school system (home-schooled) were also vaccinated.
The HSE National Immunisation Office is responsible for the planning and implementation of immunisation programmes and ensures that
• Up to date accurate information re immunisation is available for parents and health professionals
• Sufficient vaccine stocks are available for the national immunisation programmes
• Vaccines are distributed to all sites under validated temperature controlled conditions
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre ensures that accurate statistics are collected on vaccine uptakes and disease outbreaks.
Find out more about the National Immunisation Office or the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and the work of the Health Service Executive at:
Cervical cancer is responsible for the deaths of some 250,000 women each year and most are a consequence of HPV infection. This lesson outlines the range of papilloma viruses and describes how vaccines can provide a very high degree of protection.
Influenza (the flu) is a viral disease which mainly affects the epithelial cells of the upper respiratory tract. As a major cause of mortality it receives worldwide attention. This lesson deals with the virus and the steps that are taken by health authority when an outbreak occurs.
Measles is a highly contagious infection. This lesson describes the structure of viruses and the parasitic nature of their functioning. The symptoms of measles and some of the complications that can accompany the disease are described. The role of vaccination in controlling the disease is highlighted.
Mumps is a very contagious disease; it can be spread by contact or by coughing/sneezing. Recent epidemics are directly attributable inadequate uptake of vaccination. Vaccination protects the individual and the wider community.
Vaccines trigger the body’s immune system to produce antibodies without causing any disease. Memory cells ‘remember’ how to respond and so, in the event of a later infection, the body can respond much more effectively to a particular infection.
Elimination of an infectious disease means reducing the incidence of the disease to zero in a defined geographical area, through deliberate efforts. This requires ongoing measures to prevent infection from outside and to prevent the spread of any infection that does occur. Eradication refers to the permanent reduction to zero of the worldwide incidence of an infection.
The HPV vaccine is being recommended for boys because the more boys and girls that are vaccinated the sooner the overall burden of HPV related cancers will be reduced. Vaccinating boys will provide greater protection for girls. Universal vaccination, rather than vaccinating girls only, will strengthen prevention of cervical cancer in women by herd immunity.
Measles infection can lead to long term deafness or intellectual disability and is sometimes fatal. Vaccines can protect people against many diseases including measles, mumps, pertusiss (whooping cough), meningococcal disease, cervical cancer, influenza and polio.
Why do people reject evidence? When people have their minds made up in advance they reject real evidence in favour of a belief, even when that belief is shown to be without foundation. People sometimes fail to distinguish between coincidence and causation.
HPV vaccine safety has been monitored for more than ten years and is continually reviewed by many international bodies including: the European Medicines Agency; the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety of the World Health Organization; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges — three layers of tissue that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. The classical symptoms of meningitis are fever, vomiting, drowsiness, feeling confused and irritable, stiff neck and photophobia. The final two symptoms are often absent in small children.
Pertussis is a serious and very contagious bacterial disease that can last for up to three months. Children are most commonly affected. It can be prevented by a course of vaccination. Outbreaks recur when the percentage of people vaccinated falls.