Meningitis kills and leaves some survivors with lifelong after effects. Sadly, the recommendation to better account for the long term benefits of vaccines was also rejected despite this being the only favourable main recommendation in the final report.
Commenting on the news, Vinny Smith, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said:
“With our incredible supporters, and 18 partners who we co-ordinated to respond to a consultation on the report last June, we have worked tirelessly to ensure the original purpose of the report was met. We represented patient groups in the official process, met with health officials, wrote letters to Ministers, and made the case to MP’s, parliament and select committees.
“This process went badly off track somewhere and that can be seen in the potentially dangerous final report that has fortunately been rejected by government today.
“Having been rightly prompted by the JCVI to look into this vital issue of fairness, cost-saving seemed to creep in as the underlying objective as the process lengthened.
“Whilst I am delighted the packaged nature of this report has been rejected by government, I am left still waiting for answers on why improved accounting for the long term benefits of vaccines can’t be taken forward when this had such overwhelming support from the consultation.
“In truth, nearly five years on, the question that hasn’t been addressed is the one originally posed by JCVI – how do we make access to vaccines fairer for rare, severe diseases that can particularly affect children such as bacterial meningitis?
“Parents whose children have died or had life-altering damage to their health from meningitis due to lack of access to vaccines while this process has unfolded have a right to keep asking that question, and on behalf of them and future parents we won’t stop fighting for fairness.”
Read the government’s response here.