- Public consultation is now key as some recommendations could make it less likely for some vaccines to be funded by the NHS.
After a two year wait and persistent campaigning from Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF), the government has finally published a report reviewing the rules used to decide which vaccines to fund on the NHS.
The report was promised to over 820,000 petitioners calling for greater access to the meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine. Petitioners were told by government the report would be published in 2016 but it never materialised.
Vinny Smith, Meningitis Research Foundation Chief Executive said: ‘Two years is too long but we are pleased to see a public consultation on the report which has finally been published. We are taking time to review the report in full but are concerned that some recommendations would be detrimental to future vaccines and could reduce our chances of preventing serious and fatal illnesses.’
One recommendation suggests that the maximum amount the NHS is willing spend on the benefits offered by a vaccine should be reduced. Any disadvantage to vaccines compared to treatments isn’t fair – decisions on health need to be fair.
And reduced spending isn’t the answer. Compared to other countries with advanced economies the UK already spends a lot less on health. Evidence on the public’s willingness to pay for health benefits suggests spending should be higher.
It is thanks to the hard work of our Ambassadors, members and supporters that a proper consultation will now take place so that we can highlight these and other concerns once we have studied the report further.’
Meningitis Research Foundation will be providing a full statement once the report has been reviewed. The Government noted that they are consulting due to the tireless efforts of MRF and its supporters.
The consultation is open until May and can be seen here.
Following the death of two-year-old Faye Burdett, who tragically died as she was not eligible for the meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine, the biggest ever health petition with over 820,000 signatures called for greater protection.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), who advise UK health departments on immunisation, suggested that vaccine rules needed to be reviewed as they expressed concerns about the difficulty in capturing the impact of a severe, fatal and rare disease, particularly in children, when making decisions about which vaccines to fund.
They called for the establishment of a working group to specifically address this issue. The resulting working group on Cost Effectiveness Methodology for Immunisation Policy and Procurement (CEMIPP), first met in September 2014.
The Department of Health promised the petitioners a report from this group would be published in 2016 but would not promise a consultation. After years of campaigning, the report has been published with a consultation ending in May.