The Department of Health has confirmed that it is considering a recommendation to introduce a vaccine against Meningitis B as part of the childhood immunisation programme.

The news comes as authorities in Britain and Northern Ireland announced all children there will get the vaccination after  a price was agreed  with the vaccine manufacturer.

Earlier this month, after examining the Meningitis B vaccine for more than a year the body charged with advising the department on vaccinations - the National Immunisation Advisory Committee -recommended it be introduced.

In a statement to RTÉ, the department said the recommendation was for introduction if a cost effective agreement can be reached with the manufacturer.

The department is currently considering the committee's advice.

Meningitis B is the most common bacterial meningitis infection in Ireland. 

It is considered a medical emergency and frequently causes death or severe disability in those who contract it. 

Campaign group ACT for Meningitis, a Galway-based meningitis awareness group, has called on the department to immediately include the vaccine in the childhood immunisation programme.

CEO Siobhan Carroll, whose four-year-old daughter Aoibhe  died of meningitis in 2008, said its vital the Government steps up to introduce the vaccine as time lost means lives lost.

She welcomed its introduction in Northern Ireland and the UK and pointed out Ireland has the highest incidence of meningitis in Europe and the vaccine will save lives. 

The Meningitis B vaccine is available privately from general practitioners at a cost of €300.

Northern Ireland's Health Minister Jim Wells said he had signed off on the vaccine to be included as part of the routine childhood vaccination programme.