Introducing Men B vaccine will save lives says Meningitis Research Foundation
21 March 2014
Meningitis Research Foundation which, this year, marks 25 years of ground breaking research and campaigning, is celebrating today’s news that a life saving vaccine has been recommended for introduction into the NHS immunisation schedule.
MenB is the leading cause of life-threatening meningitis in the UK and the leading cause of death from infection in young children. The government’s independent expert advisory committee on vaccines, the JCVI, has now recommended the vaccine for all babies at 2, 4 and 12 months of age. Read the JCVI's position statement on MenB
Christopher Head, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said: “MenB has been at the top of this charity's agenda for decades and we are delighted that vaccinating all babies against this most feared and deadly disease has now been recommended. Last July the JCVI invited MRF to respond to their interim statement that the vaccine would not be cost effective. We submitted evidence to show that the impact of the disease on people affected was underestimated, and provided further data on the cost of this illness. This has been taken into account by the committee in their statement issued today (see here a link to JCVI minutes and statement on vaccine). We are delighted that the response we submitted has had an impact, and the voice of people affected has been heard.”
Mr Head continued: “It's a wonderful outcome which will save lives and spare countless families the trauma of seeing a loved one seriously disabled by the devastating after effects of MenB. The bitter experience of those who have suffered was vital in our campaign for this vaccine, demonstrating the compelling case for prevention. We pay tribute to them and pledge to continue supporting them.”
Dr Simon Nadel, MRF advisor and Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care, St Mary’s Hospital, London, who spearheaded a letter from 330 leading medics and scientists to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for the introduction of the vaccine, was elated to hear this news. Dr Nadel said: “I have worked with children desperately ill from this disease my entire working life and know how difficult it is to diagnose and treat. Prevention through vaccination is the only answer.”
Professor Ray Borrow, Chair of MRF’s Scientific Advisory Panel and vaccine researcher for Public Health England said “This is a tremendous step forward. I’ve been involved in MenB vaccine research for over 20 years, including research funded by Meningitis Research Foundation to enable laboratory evaluation of this vaccine, and ground-breaking genome sequencing research that will help us see how well the vaccine works. It is wonderful to see research taking us closer to protecting children from meningitis and septicaemia.
Meningitis Research Foundation marks 25 years of funding vital research into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia. Since 2011 the charity’s research has demonstrated the burden of disease and need for a vaccine. We aim to continue to fund research to help implement and evaluate MenB vaccination.