Wednesday, 31 October 1990
Dáil Éireann Debate
75. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the representations which have been made to the United States authorities over the problem which exists for some Irish emigrants whereby persons who have had the BCG vaccination are deemed to have had TB and are required to take further medicines; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The situation regarding this issue remains basically the same as outlined in my reply of 13 February, 1990. As I indicated at the time, the problem arises because BCG vaccinations are not normally administered by US health authorities. Accordingly, when Irish immigrants react positively on being screened for tuberculosis, the US health authorities conducting the test assume that the person in question is in need of treatment for the disease. Particular problems arise for children who are required to undergo a course of treatment before being allowed to attend school.
My Department have been in communication with the Department of Health on this issue. In addition, the Consulates General have made vigorous representations to the appropriate health authorities in the United States and these discussions are continuing. I would like to repeat my assurance to the House that this matter will be pursued until a satisfactory solution is found.
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