Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Brexit and meningitis vaccines – be reassured

Andy Hopkinson | 17th October 2019

As 31 October approaches, our supporters may be concerned about how Brexit will affect the supply and availability of meningitis vaccines (and other medicines) into the UK and Northern Ireland

Brexit and meningitis vaccines – be reassured

This is especially true if we leave the European Union without a deal.

With five lifesaving meningitis vaccines within the NHS immunisation schedule and manufacturing a global activity, disruption to supply chains could impact upon product availability.

We have been in regular contact with Pfizer UK and GSK, the two main suppliers of meningitis vaccines into the UK, to hear about their plans for Brexit.

We want to share their responses with you.

Response from Pfizer

Pfizer UK, who manufacture MenB, MenACWY and pneumococcal vaccines, told us: “We aim to have sufficient medicine and vaccine reserves at all times to ensure continuity of supply for patients.

“We have undertaken work to ensure we can continue to supply in the EU and UK in all Brexit outcome scenarios and are taking into account the recent UK Department of Health guidance on medicine and vaccine supplies in preparation for the UK leaving the EU under a ‘no deal’ scenario,”

and from GSK

GSK, who manufacture MenB, MenACWY, Hib and MenC, said: “In preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU (Brexit), our overriding priority has been to maintain continuity of supply of our medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products to people in the UK and EU.

“We have significant experience of maintaining resilient supply chains, and we have used existing processes to develop a new supply model based on the UK leaving the EU. To minimise disruption to patients, we have also adjusted stock levels in both the UK and EU. We support efforts to secure a status quo operating period post-Brexit, and UK and EU preparations to minimise potential disruption to the supply of medicines to patients.”

Be reassured about supplies

So, you read it here first – be reassured about vaccine supplies.

Our Chief Executive, Dr Tom Nutt, commented: “It’s entirely understandable that people might worry about Brexit and its effect on vaccines and medicine supplies. At Meningitis Now we know just how important these vaccines are – they save lives every day. People should feel reassured by the steps taken by Pfizer and GSK, as well as the Department of Health and Social Care. Whatever happens with Brexit we must continue to take all the necessary steps to save lives. Don’t let scare stories alarm you and carry on getting your vaccinations.” 

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