Meningitis still in vaccinated kids

[Posted: Wed 05/07/2006]

By Niall Hunter-Editor

Children who have been vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) are still getting the infection, although a booster vaccination campaign against the disease was launched last November.

Hib infection can cause bacterial meningitis in young children.

The uptake rate for the Hib vaccine in the booster campaign has been lower than expected, according to public health experts.

The HSE last November launched a catch-up booster vaccine campaign against Hib, after a number of children developed meningitis caused by the bug despite having been vaccinated against it.

Software: Microsoft Office
A mid-term evaluation of the booster campaign was carried out in January and February of this year by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and the HSE. The researchers looked at Hib vaccine uptake in children aged 1-2 years in the booster campaign.

They found that the Hib vaccine uptake rate was a disappointing 62% and stressed that such low levels of uptake are unlikely to achieve '‘herd immunity', in other words, protection of a large population of children against the disease through immunisation.

The researchers also reveal that in the first two months of 2006 there were six cases of Hib in children, three of whom had been fully vaccinated against the disease.

They say the low uptake does not appear to be related to problems with vaccine supply, delivery or communications.

The researchers warn that unless higher levels of Hib vaccination are achieved additional Hib cases in young children will be reported.

The study is published in Forum, the journal of the Irish College of General Practitioners.

Top of page

Back to News