Government Rejects Meningitis B Petition

2 March 2016
Government Rejects Meningitis B Petition

The Government has rejected a petition signed by more than 815,000 people calling for the meningitis B vaccine to be given to children of all ages.

A statement this morning from the government said, 'Offering the vaccine … would not be cost effective, and would not therefore represent a good use of NHS resources.'

The current MenB vaccine, Bexsero, was introduced in September last year, but only children born after July 1 2015 are eligible.

The Department of Health said that its priority was to vaccinate those children considered most at risk from meningitis B following guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the Government on the cost-effectiveness of vaccinations.

The statement said: 'With this programme, our priority is to protect those children most at risk of Men B, in line with JCVI's recommendation.

'The NHS budget is a finite resource. It is therefore essential that JCVI's recommendations are underpinned by evidence of cost-effectiveness.

'Offering the vaccine outside of JCVI's advice would not be cost effective, and would not therefore represent a good use of NHS resources which should be used to benefit the health and care of the most people possible.

'While this is extremely difficult for parents whose children aren't eligible, there is no other way of establishing new programmes to target those at highest risk without introducing inequalities.'

The UK is the only country in the world to offer the vaccine routinely to children of any age, but as this petition has become the most-signed in UK parliamentary history it is clear that many think it does not go far enough.

The issue is still scheduled to be debated in the House of Commons, and you can still sign the petition and read the government's response in full here.

You can find more information about meningitis and it's symptoms here.

TOPICS:   News and Recalls

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