Working to make vaccine decisions transparent, open, accessible and fair

02 Feb 2021
Working to make vaccine decisions transparent, open, accessible and fair
  • Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) has helped to develop a framework for involving patients and the public more in vaccine decision making
  • Vaccines have to pass a cost effectiveness analysis if they are to be made available routinely on the NHS, but patients and the public have limited input
  • Development of this new framework will aid public/patient involvement in this area
  • MRF also continues to work on pushing for fairer analysis of vaccines that prevent rare and severe childhood illnesses, such as meningitis
MRF has helped to develop a new framework that could see greater public involvement in decisions around vaccines.  The framework highlights how to involve patients and the public  in cost-effectiveness analysis (the process of weighing up costs vs benefits) so that their voice is heard.

The framework was developed working with the Mathematical and Economic Modelling for Vaccination and Immunisation Evaluation (MEMVIE)* programme and members of the public. 

The importance of health economic analysis for accessing life-saving vaccines became apparent in 2013 when decision makers concluded that the new MenB vaccine, Bexsero, could not be introduced to the routine immunisation programme. They said it was not considered to be a cost effective spend of NHS funds.  MRF submitted evidence in response to this decision at the time and the models were subsequently rerun to include additional benefits that had not previously been considered.  This led to the introduction of the vaccine for UK babies in 2015.  Since then the vaccine has been found have a significant impact on disease with cases of MenB being 62% lower in children eligible for at least two doses by the third year of the programme.

Cost effectiveness modelling is necessary for helping decision makers prioritise the most beneficial interventions for the whole population.  However, involving patients and the public in all stages of health economic analysis could enhance models, improve public confidence in them and ultimately allow faster access to vaccines. 

There continues to be wide debate about whether the methods for assessing the value of vaccines are adequate and MRF have long been calling for these to be fairer for the assessment of interventions for rare, severe childhood illness.  We recently responded to a consultation on the methods used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and are encouraged to see proposals to better account for severity of illness, long term health effects and carer impact although we wait to hear the detail on how these will be implemented. 

MRF know the devastation that meningitis causes to individuals and their families and we remain dedicated to ensuring that these impacts are adequately represented in the assessment of vaccines that prevent the disease.

* MEMVIE provides second-opinion cost effectiveness modelling to the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) who make recommendations on the UK immunisation programme. 
Meningococcal B: The main cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK and Ireland

The MRF Membership and Support team are here for you for any questions you might have about meningitis and septicaemia and their effects on you or your family and friends.

There are safe and effective vaccines available that that protect against the most common causes of life-threatening bacterial meningitis and septicaemia
Meningitis and septicaemia can kill in hours - know the symptoms.
Media contact
Holly Edwards - Communications Manager
Tel: 07875 498 047
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