§ Mr. Terry Davis
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether regular supplies of tuberculosis vaccine are now being received; and whether the health authorities have been advised on whether to resume their routine school immunisation programme.
§ Mr. Freeman
Temporary supply difficulties arose last year whilst our source of supply moved production facilities to a new site. This necessitated conserving remaining stocks by restricting vaccination to those at particular risk of exposure to tuberculosis. These include children who may be contacts of people with pulmonary tuberculosis as well as recent immigrants from developing countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis and any infants born to them subsequently. Adequate stocks remain for that purpose.
Fresh supplies should be available by the end of April 1990, so routine school vaccination could commence from that time. In October 1989, the Department asked health authorities to make plans to vaccinate the missed 1989 cohort of children at the same time as the 1990 cohort. The Department will be writing again in March to all health authorities suggesting that they can now resume the routine BCG schools' vaccination programme, in the summer or autumn terms depending on local arrangements.