The government has rejected key recommendations made by a committee known as the ‘Cost Effectiveness Methodology for Immunisation Programmes and Procurement' (CEMIPP) Group. These could have jeopardised the UK’s world-leading vaccination programme by making it harder for vaccines to be assessed as ‘cost effective’.
Following consultation, however, the government has decided not to accept the three key recommendation made in their report.
Dr Tom Nutt, CEO at Meningitis Now, said, “Today’s announcement is a victory for common sense."
“But the sad irony is that the reason for the report being written in the first place was because the doctors and scientists who advise the government on vaccines (the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) wanted to see how it might have been possible to create fairer access to vaccines that protect children from rare, but severe, diseases, such as meningitis."
“Yet, by the time of publication, the report, alongside the opinion of another Department of Health and Social Care body, the ‘Appraisal Alignment Working Group’, actually produced recommendations that could have proven detrimental to the future introduction of vaccines in the UK."
“We therefore welcome the government’s decision, which vindicates the position adopted by us and other charities and relevant organisations in the consultation undertaken last year.”
Positive steps not taken
Sadly, though, the decision also means that some positive steps that could have been taken following the report will now not be taken.
We would have supported the reduction in the ‘discount rate’ for measuring the health benefits of vaccination from 3.5% to 1.5%. This technical change to measuring the impact of vaccines could have helped to underline the preventative value of vaccines in saving lives and avoiding the cost to society of ill health and loss of life.
Dr Nutt added, “This decision may also be considered as bitter-sweet by the 823,000 people who signed a petition seeking to extend the MenB vaccination following the sad death of Faye Burdett in 2016. This demonstrates how much people value the lifesaving impact of vaccinations.”
We will continue to work with the Department of Health and Social Care, and other stakeholders, as the government considers its next steps following the decision to abandon this report.