7 August 2022
By Mary Bermingham
A robust strategy is needed to tackle the rise in cases of monkeypox here in Ireland, according to Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer, who is proposing a meeting of public health officials and relevant health groups.
Senator Buttimer was speaking after cases in Ireland rose to 97 during the week.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly last week approved recommendations by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) to provide pre-exposure prophylactic vaccination to those at high risk of infection.
Senator Buttimer said: “In recent days, cases in Ireland have risen to almost 100. As cases slowly climb, it is crucial that we are preventative in our actions.
“I welcome the Minister’s review of the NIAC advice in relation to vaccination and I also welcome the HSE’s engagement to date with the various relevant groups in order to protect those most vulnerable to the virus.
“I have written to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Minister of State Frank Feighan, proposing that we take this engagement further by convening a meeting of the HSE, NIAC, public health officials, sexual health workers and all relevant health groups, to put in place a robust strategy.
“We must also now consider how we can increase our medium to long-term supply of vaccines. We understand that there is a shortage of vaccine supplies in Europe but ideally we need a timeframe for the vaccination rollout here.
“The World Health Organisation has declared monkeypox a global health emergency, with over 16,000 cases across 75 countries and territories. Everyone is at risk of contracting the virus, regardless of sexual orientation, and while we must engage with those most at risk of contracting the virus, we must also be conscious not to stigmatise any one community. The public information campaign currently being worked on will be crucial to that, which is why I am proposing bringing all relevant groups together in advance of its rollout.”