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Meningitis charity welcomes more analysis of a MenB vaccine

Meningitis charity welcomes more analysis of a MenB vaccine

25 October 2013

Meningitis Research Foundation welcomes today’s news that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is exploring the potential of the meningococcal group B (MenB) vaccine further.

Christopher Head, Chief Executive said: “In July it appeared the UK would miss out on a MenB vaccine as the JCVI’s minutes said it was unlikely to be cost effective. But we were invited to formally respond and submitted a detailed paper in September. We are very pleased to see that this has been taken seriously enough for the JCVI to commission the further analysis which we, and other organisations, appealed for.

“The JCVI met again in October. We won’t see the minutes with the full details until mid November, but the JCVI statement today assures everyone that they are well aware of the seriousness of MenB disease and that the further analysis will be completed as quickly as possible. It is a very encouraging sign but we cannot be complacent. This devastating disease brings death and disability to hundreds of families every year and costs millions in health care and litigation. We will continue campaigning for a vaccine until it is implemented.”

Background

The JCVI’s interim statement in July said that routine infant immunisation is “highly unlikely to be cost effective at any vaccine price.” In our response we said the committee had underestimated the prevalence and severity of injury to those affected and therefore failed to take into account the full financial impact of MenB disease to the NHS. We also believed this view ignored long-term damage to bones and skin, which consigns children to years of expensive and traumatic operations and disregarded common short-term impacts on learning, movement, and psychological wellbeing. Finally we highlighted that there was no consideration of the millions of pounds paid out in negligence claims to families who successfully sue the NHS for mismanagement or misdiagnosis.

But in today’s announcement the JCVI said it is acutely aware of the burden and severity of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia in the UK and recognises the need to explore the potential for its prevention through immunisation. New Chairman, Professor Andrew Pollard, said: “We are looking very carefully at the new information and perspectives that have been provided to us by scientists, the meningitis charities and the manufacturers to ensure that we use the best available evidence to advise the UK health departments on the potential of a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine.”

The JCVI interim position statement on the use of Bexsero® meningococcal B vaccine in the UK was published on the .GOV.UK website on 24 July 2013, and is available here.

The JCVI asked Meningitis Research Foundation and others to submit feedback on its draft recommendation by early September in advance of its meeting on 2 October. Read Meningitis Research Foundation’s full response to JCVI, learn about MenB and the impact of the disease here.


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