Search icon

Baby's health

19th Jun 2024

28,000 newborns to be given the RSV vaccine

Kat O'Connor

RSV cases spiked in Ireland last winter

The Department of Health has confirmed RSV vaccines will be administered to around 28,000 newborns after a spike in cases last winter.

The concerning increase in cases led to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly securing Government approval for a vaccine programme.

He stated:

“Last winter, we saw the significant impact of RSV on our health service, particularly in paediatric hospitals. We saw the highest-ever number of RSV hospitalisations among children, with babies under one year being the most affected.

“I’m delighted to have secured Government approval today for this programme that directly and swiftly responds to this issue and will hopefully deliver an immediate impact by reducing illness and minimising the burden on our healthcare resources over the winter.

“This Pathfinder programme will also help to inform the development of future RSV programmes aimed at reducing incidences of illnesses and hospitalisation among the population.”

RSV is a common virus, but it can be incredibly dangerous for babies under the age of one.

It usually causes coughs and colds, but the virus can lead to bronchiolitis and pneumonia in very young children.

Most children will get RSV before they are two years old.

They typically get infected in the winter or springtime.

The HSE confirmed, “Most symptoms of RSV are mild, such as a runny nose, coughing and sneezing. People usually recover within 2 to 3 weeks without treatment or the need to see a GP.”