Disappointing Men B announcement
24 July 2013
Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) says it’s disappointed that the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) has failed to recommend the introduction of a long hoped-for vaccine to combat a child-killer disease and is encouraging its members and supporters to write to their MPs as a matter of urgency.
The JCVI says it needs more data on the meningococcal B meningitis and septicaemia (MenB) vaccine and has invited this charity and others to comment on its draft statement by 3 September 2013 before making a recommendation to the UK Government.
Chris Head, MRF Chief Executive says: “This is the disease most feared by parents. It kills more children under five than any other infectious disease and leaves survivors with life-changing disabilities. Today’s news is a severe blow for everyone campaigning against this dreadful disease. We know every delay costs lives and leaves many more with life-long disabilities.
“The UK’s child mortality rates are amongst the highest in Europe. We simply cannot afford to let this licensed vaccine hang in limbo any longer. There is a tiny window of opportunity over the holiday season to encourage a change of heart and we are urging our members and supporters to lobby their MPs while we submit yet more, potent arguments to the JCVI on why this vaccine is vital.”
MRF Patron and Paralympic gold medal winner and the new T44 100m sprint World Champion Jonnie Peacock, who contracted meningitis and septicaemia aged five, adds:
“Meningococcal B septicaemia changed the course of my life, but many other people have been far more seriously affected by the disease. That’s why I became a Patron of Meningitis Research Foundation and why I am backing the introduction of this MenB vaccine, and any others that can save lives. I know the JCVI has not recommended the Men B vaccine for use in the UK today, but it’s good to know the race isn’t over yet and that with some more work it could cross the line in the near future.”
MRF urges the UK Government to work with the manufacturer, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited, to find a solution and implement this vaccine as soon as possible. It notes the committee believes the UK has the expertise and infrastructure to deliver this relatively quickly.
We have already submitted a report, entitled Counting the Cost
, which estimated the lifelong costs to the UK of someone severely disabled by meningococcal disease is at least £3m. It also submitted a petition to No 10 Downing Street last September with nearly 17,000 names calling for a MenB vaccine, and has supported members with their MenB petitions
to the UK and Northern Irish governments.
To read the minutes of the June 2013 JCVI meeting go to:
www.gov.uk/government/policy-advisory-groups/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation See the BBC coverage on this story including an interview with our members Sarah and Tilly Lockey
More on MenB
In-depth Q + A on the vaccine