Meningitis Research Foundation has received an incredible 2056 responses to our survey asking for public views on access to vaccines. The results will feed into a government consultation on a report that could threaten vaccine programmes and reduce the amount of money spent on preventing illness in the UK. The results of our survey show that the public wants fairer access to vaccines.
The report had suggested the government should reduce the amount it is able to spend on prevention or treatment to keep a person alive and in perfect health for a year from £20K to £15K. Our survey showed that most people actually want the opposite. 68.5% said government should increase the amount instead and 26.4% said it should stay at £20K.
The report also said the government could prioritise spending on drugs to treat illnesses rather than spending to prevent illness, when using the health budget. Again, our survey showed this was unacceptable. 64.4% said the government should value treatment and prevention equally and 31.3% wanted the government to prioritise spending money on preventing illness.
Our final survey question asked if the public agreed with the report’s view that health benefits that happen in the future are worth less than immediate health benefits. 94.2% said that their health now and their future health are equally important.
Meningitis Research Foundation is using these results to respond to the government consultation. We have also asked other charities and expert organisations to help support our cause by signing up to key messages that we will share with government.
See the key messages for government here.
We would like to thank the following organisations for their support:
- Royal Society for Public Health
- Royal College of Nursing
- Group B Strep Support
- British Society for Immunology
- The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health
- British Liver Trust
- Wellbeing of Women
- Diabetes UK
- Children’s Liver Disease Foundation
- The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK)
- Jo’s cervical cancer trust
- HPV action
- Meningitis Now
- Paediatric Intensive Care Society
- Terrence Higgins Trust
- Sickle Cell Society
- Association of Medical Research Charities
- Advanced Life Support Group
- British Infection Association
The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advise the UK government on vaccines. In 2013, after considering whether a vaccination should be introduced to protect children against MenB (meningococcal B infection, the leading cause of meningitis in UK children), they were concerned that current methods for assessing which vaccines to fund could undervalue the benefits of preventing uncommon, severe diseases in childhood.
As a result, the Cost Effectiveness Methodology for Immunisation Programmes and Procurement (CEMIPP) working group was set up in 2014 to consider whether the method for making decisions about which vaccines to fund should change. While the group considered vaccine decisions, young children continued to die because they could not get access to the MenB vaccine. The death of a young girl, Faye Burdett, led to a huge public outcry and a petition with over 820,000 people calling for greater access to the MenB vaccine.
The UK government promised petitioners that a report produced by CEMIPP would be published in 2016. After a long delay this has now been published and Meningitis Research Foundation has been asked to respond to a consultation on the report and represent public views.
We have written a briefing on the report available here.