MRF welcomes UK private MenB vaccine news
18 May 2016
Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) welcomes the news that supplies of the MenB vaccine, Bexsero, to private clinics in the UK will be able to match demand from June.
Demand for the vaccine outstripped supply when parents rushed to vaccinate children over a year old, beyond the age group currently being offered the vaccine within the UK’s childhood immunisation programme. The demand was prompted by the tragic death of two year old Faye Burdett who was too old to be eligible.
Now Bexsero’s manufacturer has announced that supplies to private clinics will resume. A GSK spokesperson said, “We are pleased to confirm that the constraints that impacted UK supplies of the meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, during the first half of 2016 have now eased and we have advised private clinics that they can start new courses of vaccination for patients, commencing the beginning of June.
“We are aware that many private clinics have waiting lists for parents who wish to have their child vaccinated against meningitis B. Over the coming months, we will work closely with these clinics to ensure that they have sufficient supply to meet current demand.”
Commenting on the news, MRF Chief Executive, Vinny Smith said, “It is good news that so many parents who have been waiting will soon be able to protect their children against MenB. However, we remain concerned that, apart from the under one year olds, the vaccine is available only to those who can afford it.
“Meningitis Research Foundation maintains that we should have wider protection against MenB (meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia) in the UK. There was some good news in the recent ministerial announcement at the parliamentary debate on MenB – a commitment to showing whether vaccinating teenagers against MenB can protect us all by stopping the infection from spreading and potential reform of the rules for calculating the cost-effectiveness of vaccines in the UK, which could favour a catch-up vaccination programme for older children.
"But we were disappointed that there was no commitment to extending MenB vaccine beyond the under one year olds even once there is solid evidence that the vaccine is working. We were also encouraged to learn that the government’s vaccine advisory committee is considering a catch up campaign for children under age 2. If their recommendation is positive, extending the vaccination programme to this next most vulnerable age group before this year’s winter meningitis season could save many families from the devastating impact of this disease. ”
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