Preliminary data from the UK’s national meningitis B immunisation programme has shown that Bexsero, the vaccine introduced to combat meningitis B, has been 83% effective against all MenB strains in infants and 94% against vaccine preventable strains for all children receiving the first two of three recommended doses. Furthermore, MenB cases have halved in vaccine-eligible children compared to the average number of cases over the last four years.
This information was shared at the 20th International Pathogenic Neisseria Conference (IPNC) in Manchester, UK. The conference included a discussion entitled ‘Invasive meningococcal disease in infants following the introduction of Bexsero® into the national immunisation programme in England’ which was led by consultant epidemiologist at Public Health England, Shamez Ladhani.
Meningitis B is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK and Ireland, with meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia remaining the leading infectious cause of deaths in children under five in the UK. This vaccine has enabled further protection of infants from this disease, which can potentially kill or disable in a matter of hours.
CoMO President, Chris Head said ‘This is fantastic news for families all over the UK who have benefited from the implementation of Bexsero into the UK’s national immunisation programme. I can only hope that other countries are inspired by these results and decide to adopt the meningitis B vaccine into their national immunisation programmes to protect young infants from this terrible disease and reduce the burden of meningitis worldwide.’