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Meningitis Research Foundation welcomes Government Committee support for a teenage vaccination against meningitis

Meningitis Research Foundation welcomes Government Committee support for a teenage vaccination against meningitis

01 February 2012

Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) funded research has contributed to new advice from JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) to the UK Government recommending a new Meningitis C (MenC) vaccine booster in early adolescence to maintain long term protection against meningitis and septicaemia caused by meningococcal C disease.

Chris Head, Chief Executive of MRF, said: “We warmly welcome this advice to ensure cases of the disease do not increase again. MenC vaccination has been a great success. Since its introduction in 1999, MenC disease has fallen rapidly with only 20 cases of the disease recorded in 2010/2011. Over 10,000 cases have been prevented in the last 11 years and more than 1,000 lives saved. We have campaigned to see this success continue with the introduction of an adolescent boost. It is very important to prevent carriage of the bacteria in this age group, which plays a key role in circulating the bug.”

MenC’s success has largely been down to the targeted ‘catch-up’ campaign vaccinating all children and teenagers under the age of 18 and subsequently up to 25 years of age reducing carriage of the bacteria in the population. Children vaccinated since the original campaign are up to 12 years of age now, and although protected during their infancy, they are unlikely to remain immune to MenC in their teens and into adulthood.
To prevent waning immunity in this age group the committee recommends a teenage boost. To achieve this, they recommend moving one of two MenC infant doses. The research shows protection for very young children would not be affected.

Chris Head added “We must continue monitoring and surveillance to ensure that the current very low levels of MenC disease are maintained and there is no upsurge in cases of MenY which have risen slightly in recent years. We urge the committee to make an early recommendation on implementation so that this extra level of protection against this deadly disease is delivered as soon as possible.”

For information on the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, you can call the Freefone 24 hour helpline on 080 8800 3344, go here or download the free app from iTtunes – ‘Meningitis – Know the Symptoms’.

Media Contact: If you require any further information please contact Harpinder Collacott Head of Communications on 01454 280406 or email: harpinderc@meningitis.org

Notes to Editor:

  • James B. Wing, Lynne Smart, Ray Borrow, Jamie Findlow, Helen Findlow, Andrew W. Heath, and Robert C. Read, Kinetics of Immune Responses to Nasal Challenge With Meningococcal Polysaccharide One Year After Serogroup-C Glycoconjugate Vaccination Clin Infect Dis. (2011) 52(11): 1317-1323 doi:10.1093/cid/cir198 http://cid.oxfordjournals.org
  • The MRF funded research looked at a group of 18 to 39 year olds and measured their immunity levels after vaccination with the MenC conjugate vaccine. Results showed that, although all were fully protected one month after vaccination, up to a third of them had unprotective or low antibody responses one year later. Further investigation showed that these people had developed an immune memory response but that this was too slow to protect against MenC infection. The results are important since they contribute to the growing body of evidence for introducing a teenage MenC booster. Currently children get 3 doses of MenC vaccine at 3, 4 and 12 months. The second most at risk age group for MenC disease is teenagers and young adults, who are also the main carriers and distributors of MenC bacteria between each other and the rest of the population
  • Professor Adnrew Pollard and Dr Matthew Snape discuss Do we need an extra dose of a meningococcal vaccine in adolescence?
  • Meningitis Research Foundation is currently funding 19 research projects into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia. The Foundation has spent over £16 million on research since its inception in 1989
  • Meningitis Research Foundation operates a Freefone 24 hour helpline – 080 8800 3344 – providing information on meningitis and septicaemia to the general public and health professional
  • The Foundation offers support for those affected by meningitis and septicaemia. Trained helpline staff is available 365 days a year. A befriending service links people with experience of meningitis and septicaemia to share their experiences and help each other.


Katie Francis
Meningococcal disease
Meningococcal disease at 15

Even after all this time it upsets me to think about what might have happened.

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