Why is this important?
Two MenB vaccines are in late stage development and one has recently been given positive opinion for a European licence
. It is hoped that it will soon be available for routine use in the national immunisation programme.
However, to make decisions about when and how the vaccine could be introduced most effectively, it is crucial to know the precise number of cases and how serious such infections are in different age groups.
Currently, national surveillance of meningococcal disease is known to be incomplete, but we do not know how many cases are not picked up by the surveillance programme. Also, the current surveillance doesn’t routinely collect any clinical information about disease severity. We therefore know little about the individuals who develop disease, and this sort of information is vital for estimating the potential impact of any new vaccine, and monitoring impact once it becomes part of the routine immunisation schedule.