In March 2015, the UK government announced a start date of September 2015 for a mass infant vaccination programme against Group B meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia (MenB)
. MenB is the main cause of the diseases in the UK and Ireland.
Introduction of the vaccine will save lives and spare countless families the trauma of seeing a loved one die or become seriously disabled because of MenB.MenB has been top of our charity’s agenda for decades.
We pay tribute to all the scientists and health professionals involved in creating the vaccine, to our supporters for their help in funding research into MenB, and to our members whose telling of their often bitter experiences of meningitis and septicaemia has been vital in our campaigning for the vaccine to be introduced. Their stories demonstrated the most compelling case for prevention.
A great step forward in the fight against meningitis and septicaemia, but not the end of the story.The new MenB vaccine will not protect against all strains of disease
. There are other causes of meningitis and septicaemia which are not yet vaccine preventable. Research into disease prevention and MenB vaccine evaluation is still urgently needed.
Campaigning for wider use of the MenB vaccine is still required as the vaccination programme is only for babies. We will continue to campaign for the vaccine’s implementation in Ireland so that children north and south of the border are protected.
During the year we were also delighted with the part our Meningococcal Genome Library
played in the UK government’s decision to introduce an emergency one-off vaccination programme for adolescents and university freshers to combat the rise of a particularly deadly strain of Group W meningococcal bacteria (MenW).
Having achieved so much with our supporters over the years, we are now taking this invaluable experience and knowledge oversea
s, where meningitis remains a significant killer, particularly of babies and young children. We aim to build on our track record of significant support for research outside of the UK and Ireland while developing new models to tackle the diseases globally, like our Action Meningitis
health intervention project in Malawi.
Action Meningitis has over the last two years trained and empowered 192 front-line health workers to recognise severe illness and prioritise the sickest children. Through them triage has been delivered to 215,000 children across eight primary health clinics. The system has radically improved patient flow through the clinics, with shorter waiting times for all patients.
We remain engaged to solve the significant remaining problems of death and serious life-altering disability as we continue to work towards making our vision of a world free from meningitis and septicaemia a reality.