The Department of Health (DoH) has announced that it is to send an urgent donation of vaccine against Meningococcal C (MenC) and Septicaemia for the African Meningitis Belt.
The UK Government’s donation of 137,000 doses is in response to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) request to utilise the UK’s MenC vaccines to respond to the current meningitis epidemics in Niger, Mali and other areas reporting increased cases.
CoMO President, Chris Head said, “The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations is thrilled with the decision from the UK government to donate MenC vaccines to the African Meningitis Belt. This is an effective utilisation of the vaccines and will hopefully help to prevent further epidemics.”
The availability of the vaccine is due to the DoH’s decision to remove the infant dose of MenC currently given at three months of age in the UK. The vaccine was first introduced in 1999, successfully immunising around 12 million children and young adults as part of a catch-up programme. The campaign has been a huge success and incidences of MenC have declined rapidly due to successful herd protection for the strain. Therefore the DoH have advised that children no longer require the infant dose.
CoMO is extremely pleased by the success of the MenC immunisation campaign and the utilisation of the vaccines in regions of the African Meningitis Belt currently facing epidemics.