Dr Angela O’Leary, principal medical officer, Cork and Kerry
My starting time depends on where I’m based for the day. If in Cork, I start at 6.45am. It can be a busy time in our house — four other people leads to lots of burnt toast and kettle boiling.
I hit the office with coffee. I manage the community medical services in Cork and Kerry. I review emails and list priorities.
I have a teleconference with the National Immunisation Office and other principal medical officers to review the HPV school immunisation programme. 2016/17 has been a difficult year. Inaccurate and false information on the safety of HPV vaccine has led to decreased uptake levels in 12 to 13-year-old girls. Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, is safe and effective. It prevents cancer and saves lives. More than 90 women die from cervical cancer in Ireland annually. We discuss strategies on how to provide parents, students, teachers and health professionals with accurate scientific information on the HPV vaccine.
I have a meeting with local community medical doctors to discuss the delivery of school immunisation programmes in Cork city. There are over 250 primary and secondary schools in the region. Junior Infant pupils are offered 4-in-1 vaccine (diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough) and a second dose of MMR vaccine. Cases of measles, mumps and whooping cough still occur and can lead to serious illness or death. Immunisation teams also offer meningitis C and Tdap vaccine to first year pupils. Meningitis B and C vaccines are now administered to children. Soon we will rarely see cases of meningococcal meningitis. We plan how to encourage meningitis C vaccine uptake in first years as this will lead to a reduction in cases in college students. Lunch is usually at my desk or in the car.
Staff meeting in North Cork. As well as providing school immunisations, community medical doctors deliver community-based child health clinics, medical assessments of HSE administered schemes and services to asylum seeker groups. Regular review of service provision is essential to ensure effective use of resources and equal access to all.
I catch up on calls before finishing.
Home, hopefully someone has started cooking. For relaxation, I like to read. At the weekend there is time for swimming or cycling.
“Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, is safe and effective”