MRF welcomes MenB vaccine decision for Ireland
25 February 2016
MRF and our supporters across Ireland are today celebrating the news that the long awaited and hard campaigned for vaccine against this most feared and deadly disease will be offered to babies for free as part of the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule from September 2016, following an announcement by the Department of Health.
Ireland has the highest incidence of MenB in the European Union affecting, on average, 100 people every year. Anyone of any age can contract the disease but children under five and teenagers are most at risk. One in 10 people who contract MenB will die and one in three survivors are left with life changing disabilities including limb amputation, brain damage and deafness.
This vaccine has been available privately in Ireland since December 2013 but there are high costs involved with families getting their children vaccinated so its introduction into the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule at 2, 4 and 13 months will make it accessible to all babies.
Diane McConnell, Deputy CEO of Meningitis Research Foundation said: “Today’s news is very positive for everyone who has been tirelessly campaigning for this MenB vaccine. MenB has been at the top of this charity's agenda for decades and we are delighted that vaccinating all babies against this devastating disease is now a reality.
We would like to see everyone protected against MenB, and vaccinating teenagers could be the solution to this because they are key to transmission and spread. We need to find out if the vaccine can stop teenagers picking up and passing on the bacteria.
The Charity’s work continues as we still need funds to support families affected and fund vital research.”
Linda Glennie, Head of Research & Medical Information at MRF said: “After years of research it’s wonderful to see a MenB vaccine available for all babies in Ireland. We pay tribute to all the scientists and health professionals involved in the creation of the vaccine. Our members and supporters have played an important role, demonstrating the burden of MenB disease and funding years of research, including studies that allowed the vaccine to be tested. Their continued support will help us evaluate the vaccine’s effectiveness in real world use.
Diane adds: “We hope to see cases of MenB decline quickly in Ireland when it is introduced, but people should still be vigilant about recognising the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, as there are still strains of the disease that no vaccine can prevent.”
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