03 August 2015
CoMO has written a letter to Sr. Rubén Moreno Palanques, President of the Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios (AEMPS), asking that he make the MenB vaccine available in Spanish pharmacies.
Currently residents of Spain must travel across the borders to neighbouring countries in order to obtain the vaccine. Making the vaccine available to purchase within Spain would be the first step towards providing protection from this vaccine-preventable strain of what can be a truly devastating disease. We are also calling for the recommendation of integration of the vaccine into the national immunisation schedule in Spain, meaning that those who are unable to afford the vaccine would then also have access.
To read our letter you can view it below or download a PDF copy here. Please feel free to share with your colleagues and friends.
July 21st, 2015
Thank you for your hard work and dedication to improving our world by advancing immunization practices to protect Spanish citizens against preventable illness and death, as caused by meningitis and septicaemia. The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) joins with you in that goal, and is dedicated to preventing meningitis globally by ensuring families worldwide have access to early diagnosis, preventative measures, and quick treatment.
More than two thirds of meningococcal disease cases in Spain are caused by serogroup B. Babies and young adults are the most vulnerable age groups. In the past three years there have been 386 cases of confirmed serogroup B meningitis in Spain, 36 of these cases resulting in death and many survivors being left with life-long disabilities.
In 2013 we were delighted by the release of the first vaccine against serogroup B by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and by the subsequent approval by most European countries for its use and sales in pharmacies with a medical prescription.
After two years of the vaccine’s use, resulting in plenty of data and no significant secondary or adverse effects, we applaud the action taken by health authorities in the UK to include it in their free vaccination routine to protect the vitality of babies and young adults in their nation. We have also welcomed the recent decision of the CDC to recommend the MenB vaccine for all adolescents in the USA, making it free of charge for the vast majority of those at risk in this age group.
Please draw upon your knowledge, the evidence, and your authority to help us prevent meningitis from causing this trail of death and pain by at least making the vaccine available to buy in Spanish pharmacies, and so prevent the need for thousands of Spanish parents to travel to neighboring countries to purchase the vaccine, bringing it back to Spain in a dubious condition.
Of course a second and important step would be recommending the Spanish Ministry of Health introduces the routine vaccination against serogroup B meningococcal disease, making broad protection for babies and teens a reality. We need you to take this step to provide cover for the majority of people who want to protect themselves and their children from meningitis which, as you know, can kill or disable in hours.
In essence, our goal is to prevent meningitis worldwide because we can and we should. As individual members of CoMO, we unfortunately know first-hand the devastating effects of meningitis. Imagine losing your child or watching them become disabled for life to a vaccine-preventable disease, knowing that a vaccine was available. Although meningitis cases are relatively rare when compared to other diseases, the effects have been devastating to many. No one can put a price on the life of a human being, especially a child with the potential for a bright future.
Surely, if there is help at hand, you would take this step? CoMO strongly urges you and your colleagues at AEMPS to follow the path created by the UK in first authorizing and then recommending the meningococcal B vaccine as routine. Our children and young people deserve a full and fighting chance to live long and healthy lives.
Together, we must Join Hands Against Meningitis. We – the 43 member organisations of CoMO and in particular our Spain-based organization, Fundación Irene Megias contra la Meningitis – are counting on you.
The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations