It took many years of research to develop a MenB vaccine. It took more to campaign for its implementation, but in March 2015 it was announced that all babies in the UK will soon be vaccinated against meningococcal B (MenB) disease as part of the national childhood immunisation programme
The announcement came almost a year to the day after the vaccine had been recommended for routine use in babies aged 2, 4 and 12 months by UK government advisors, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This was a major step forward and our analysis provided crucial evidence
to counter the JCVI’s initial conclusion that the vaccine was unlikely to be cost effective. Our members who took part in a study about the family impact of meningitis and septicaemia gave compelling evidence which was a key component of our response.
Your support has been crucial in seeing the vaccine through to implementation. Thank you for enabling us to keep the issue high on the political agenda by signing petitions
calling for the introduction of the vaccine. Two petitions were delivered to Downing Street totalling more than 50,000 signatures to which Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt personally responded
Twice, in January 2014
and March 2015
, leading clinicians supported letters to Mr Hunt . The letters were organised by MRF, led by Dr Simon Nadel, and both were published in the Times and featured in national news items in broadcast and print media.
As the first anniversary of the JCVI's recommendation loomed in March 2015, members and supporters joined our #WheresOurVaccine campaign, sending selfies to Mr Hunt, sending him hundreds of tweets, writing to their MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates, appearing in hundreds of national and regional newspapers throughout the country, as well as dozens of national outlets, to demand, #WheresOurVaccine?
Throughout the process we have repeatedly expressed our concerns that cost effectiveness analysis undervalues the impact of this disease
In the last couple of year our genome library has been providing new evidence which supports increased value of the MenB vaccine to UK children and increases the urgency for its introduction. A particularly deadly strain of MenW
, identified by our genome library as ST-11, is on the rise and the MenB vaccine would protect against it.
As we llok forward to the introduction of the vaccine we pay tribute to all the scientists and health professionals involved in the creation of the vaccine. Our members and supporters have also played an important role, demonstrating the burden of MenB disease and funding years of research, including studies that allowed the vaccine to be tested. Their continued support will help us evaluate the vaccine once implemented.
When this vaccine is finally introduced it will save lives and spare countless families the trauma of seeing a loved one die or become seriously disabled because of MenB. The bitter experience of those who have been personally affected has been vital in our campaigning for this vaccine, demonstrating the compelling case for prevention. We pay tribute to them and pledge to continue supporting them.