The UK Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has been considering the Men B vaccine’s implementation into the Routine Childhood Immunisation Schedule since January 2011, but in the minutes of its 12 June 2013 meeting, published today (24 July 2013), it says it cannot recommend implementation of this vaccine at this time because of insufficient evidence and calls for a population based evaluation of the vaccine.
Chris Head, Chief Executive, Meningitis Research Foundation, and Sue Davie, Chief Executive, Meningitis Trust/Meningitis UK have come together to respond to the news. They say;
“Meningococcal B infection (Men B) is the most common form of meningitis in the UK and kills more children under five than any other infection. A vaccine for this disease has been all three charities’ number-one priority for over two decades and we are united in our huge disappointment that a viable vaccine, licensed by the European Commission - Bexsero® - will not be implemented in the UK in the near future.
“The JCVI has invited us to submit comments on the statement that accompanies the minutes, and we welcome the opportunity for this as representatives for people affected by the disease. We are in support of a population based evaluation being undertaken to generate further evidence for the vaccine, but our concern is on the speed at which this needs to take place. Urgency is required as further delays will cost lives.
“Men B can kill in a matter of hours and leaves many sufferers blighted with disabilities; some as severe as limb loss, blindness, deafness and brain damage.
“Our commitment to a Men B vaccine remains a priority and we shall continue campaigning for it to be implemented. We shall also continue fundraising to maintain awareness of the disease and for more research into vaccines against all forms of meningitis and septicaemia.”
For further information contact:
Meningitis Research Foundation Jane Futrell/ Becky Pierce-Jones Email: janef.meningitis.org/beckypj.meningitis.org, telephone 01454 280406 / 416
Meningitis Trust Andy Hopkinson/Nicola Davies, Meningitis Trust/Meningitis UK Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 01453 768006