UK to pioneer Meningitis B Vaccination
United Kingdom is the first country in the world to introduce a nationwide vaccine programme for Meningitis.
All babies in the UK will be vaccinated against Meningitis from this September, which is valued £20. The NHS has signed an agreement with GlaxosmithKline and the vaccination is expected to be rolled out this year. The pharmaceutical firm has agreed to provide a new meningitis B vaccine for this purpose.
Most cases of meningococcal disease in the UK and Ireland are caused by group B meningococcal bacteria. A new Men B vaccine, called Bexsero®, which is licensed in Europe, has now been recommended for all babies in the UK. It has not yet been recommended in Ireland.
GPs would give the injection to babies from the age of two months, with boosters at four months and 12 months.
Nearly 800,000 babies each year would be eligible for the jab at an average annual cost of £16million.
While vaccinations are readily available for Meningitis C, UK will be the first country to introduce vaccine for Meningitis B.
On average there are 1200 cases of meningitis B each year in the UK, of which a tenth prove fatal. Another tenth result in serious impairments such as amputations, deafness, bone deformities and brain damage.
UK’s Health Minister Jeremy Hunt’s announcement follows growing pressure from charities, highlighted by the Mail, which warned that children were dying and suffering devastating injuries while wrangling about the cost continued.
– Sharanya Bharathwaj