No further forward says Meningitis Now

26th February 2018

Meningitis Now has this afternoon expressed concern following the publication of a much-awaited report on vaccine cost effectiveness and the appearance of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care, Steve Brine MP before the Petitions Select Committee today

Public consultation

Meningitis Now welcomes the formal consultation on the report, and Mr Brine's invitation to further discuss the report’s findings with meningitis charities.

It has concerns, however, about the potential implications of some of the report's proposals, and the fact that there is a lack of agreement amongst experts and other stakeholders around the best methodologies used to define cost effectiveness.  The charity hopes that these concerns will be addressed as the report enters its consultation stage.

Meningitis Now CEO, Dr Tom Nutt said:

“We welcome that Mr Brine has stated that he does not wish to harm this country's world leading vaccination programme. But the publication of the report yesterday and today’s appearance of Mr Brine will have done little to convince the thousands of people who signed the Faye Burdett petition in 2016 that any meaningful progress has been made in addressing their fundamental concern of protecting children from the ravages of meningitis."

“We recognise the complex and technical nature of the report, but fear that petitioners and others may be disappointed by what we have seen and heard."

“Having previously submitted evidence about key concerns, when the draft report was initially produced, we will continue to review this final report carefully and challenge any recommendations that we feel create a less favourable environment for vaccines”.

Submissions on the report’s recommendations close on 21 May 2017.

The report follows an e-petition in 2016 signed by more than 820,000 people, which called for the MenB vaccine to be given to children up to the age of 11. At the time, the Petitions and Health Committees heard evidence from families, charities, including ourselves, and medical experts.

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It was clear from these hearings that there were serious concerns about the way that the Government decides whether a vaccine is cost-effective.

A Government Working Group known as “CEMIPP” - “Cost Effectiveness Methodology for Immunisation Programmes and Procurement” - was already looking at this issue. The Committees called on the Government to publish the CEMIPP report, and to commit to doing a full public consultation on its recommendations.

We echoed this call at the time and have subsequently repeated it many times. Government initially hoped to publish it before the end of 2016, but it has taken nearly two years after the petition closed for the report to be published.

Tom continued: “When the petition was rejected in 2016, the then Health Minister cited this report as being integral to the future of vaccines and in doing so ‘put on hold’ the hopes of those who had signed the petition – people who had been deeply moved by the sad and preventable death of 2-year-old Faye Burdett."

Commenting on the publication of the CEMIPP report, Chair of the Petitions Committee, Helen Jones, said: 

“Since 2016, the Petitions and Health Committees have been urging the Government to publish this report, so we are pleased that it has finally done so. It is, however, regrettable that the Government has taken so long to act, when decisions about vaccines could save children’s lives. Charities and campaigners, including families who have lost children to meningitis, have been left waiting for this report for far too long.”

“We have also been pressing the Government to commit to a consultation. It is very welcome indeed that the Government has at last agreed to open up these proposals for public scrutiny. The Government must now listen to the voices of survivors and bereaved families.”

Read the report and the consultation.

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