Break the MenB deadlock and start saving lives

Break the MenB deadlock and start saving lives

06 November 2014

Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) is calling on Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health to step in and speed up long-running negotiations to introduce a life saving vaccine for meningococcal group B disease (MenB) aimed at young children and extend its scope so young adults are protected too.

It believes swift implementation is all the more urgent because a virulent and deadly strain of the MenW infection, clonal complex 11 (cc11) is starting to claim lives in the UK and the recommended MenB vaccine is believed to help combat this too.

MRF Chief Executive Chris Head says: “Nobody should die or be disabled by a vaccine preventable disease. Especially one which now looks like helping combat the deadly cc11 strain of MenW too – a form of MenW which is currently recording higher fatalities than other forms of the disease.

“We were euphoric when a MenB vaccine was recommended to the UK Government. But eight months on from the independent committee’s report, and nearly two years since the vaccine was licensed by the European Union, we are still no further forward. It’s heart-breaking, especially when we hear of new cases every single week and not just among small children – there have been a number of deaths among students this autumn too.

“We know meningitis is the disease most feared by parents and medical professionals. Over 50,000 people have signed our petitions and our open letter to Jeremy Hunt from medical professionals and scientists now has over 330 names. We want Mr Hunt to step in and bring this deadlock over MenB to an end. He should also take it one step further and like the Government’s current MenC catch up programme for the under 25s, start protecting young adults from MenB too.”

MRF’s Counting the Cost study estimated the lifelong costs of someone seriously disabled by MenB is up to £4.5m. It has been highlighting inspiring survivors’ stories in its online exhibition Focus on Meningitis, a mix of professional photographs and images submitted by members and supporters.

Supporters of Meningitis Research Foundation joined medical professionals and MP’s at an exhibition of these striking images which have been on display in the Palace of Westminster this week. Chris Head says: “The exhibition clearly demonstrates how many survivors go on to build rich and rewarding lives’. Their achievements cannot be underestimated but serious disability is not just a personal issue for those affected. It also has massive financial impacts on society and in an era of making citizens fit for life, we should be doing everything possible to protect them from disease at the outset.”

More on MenB

In-depth Q + A on the vaccine

Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam and I’m MRF's PR Manager.

If you want to know more about this story call me on 0333 405 626251, out of office hours on 07875 498047 or email me