Vinny Smith, Chief Executive at MRF: said, “For a long time we have called for a reform of the cost effectiveness rules that put vaccines that prevent uncommon, severe childhood disease at a disadvantage.
“The MenB vaccine is one example of how flawed the system is. When the vaccine was first licensed, the UK government’s vaccine advisory committee did not recommend introducing the vaccine on the NHS based on cost. MRF fought hard to change this by submitting evidence highlighting the devastating burden of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia on individuals and their families. Introducing the MenB vaccine for babies in 2015 was a major step forward, but offering vaccination for this age group alone will only prevent around a quarter of cases and if the vaccine rules had been fairer, more children could have been protected.
“Vaccination is the only way to prevent diseases like meningitis, and this study shows that the public value protection from severe disease, particularly for children. The rules that govern access to vaccines do not reflect the public’s preferences.”
The study authors would like to thank all of the members of public that participated in a qualitative interview. They would also like to thank the members of the public and lay members of the Meningitis Research Foundation that took part in a research engagement evening.
‘The views of the general public on prioritising vaccination programmes against childhood diseases: A qualitative study’ by G Lasseter et al in PLOS ONE.
There is currently a UK government consultation on a report about the way decisions are made about vaccines. 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. The tragic 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.
If implemented as a package, the current report recommendations would result in the opposite of what the petitioners wanted and would actually make it much harder to get vaccines introduced, not easier.