In response to yesterday’s parliamentary debate to extend the meningococcal B (Men B) vaccine Meningitis Now CEO Liz Brown said:
"Our response to yesterday’s debate is one of disappointment. We are disappointed that the Health Minister, Jane Ellison MP, chose to ignore the wishes of the 820,000 people who signed the petition to prevent children dying from Men B and the overwhelming views of the MPs who argued passionately for a catch-up programme to be rolled out."
"We take some solace in the fact that the Minister announced that the report detailing the review of the cost-effectiveness rules, which are critical in determining whether a vaccine is introduced, will be published in full during the summer. We hope that this report will be open to public scrutiny and consultation before its conclusions are finalised."
"The Minister must of course be aware that the aspirations and wishes of 820,000 people to extend the Men B vaccine to other at-risk children will be focused on this report and its findings. We note her commitment to consider its finding as a priority and act on its findings."
"In relation to the adolescent carriage study, the Minister announced that this vitally important study would commence in December 2017 – five years since it was originally recommended by Government advisers, the JCVI. During the debate MPs reinforced the importance of this study and its critical role in determining the impact that teenagers have in the transmission of Men B to the general population. Five years does not, in our view, reflect either the urgency or vitally important nature of this study and we would ask the Minister to review this."
"In the absence of a catch-up programme, the Minister announced that she was to commission a serious disease public awareness programme, to be launched in the autumn. We have spent the past 30 years delivering meningitis awareness to the nation and recognise the important role that early recognition and medical intervention play in reducing the impact of the disease and improved patient outcomes. This is not however a preventative strategy that will reduce contraction rates – only a vaccine can deliver this. We will work with Government to ensure that meningitis is at the heart of the campaign, as we know meningitis remains the disease most feared by parents."
"Whilst the debate held mixed fortunes for our Beat it Now! campaign to extend the Men B vaccine, we remain resolute in our determination to fight to protect our nation’s greatest asset, our children, against this devastating disease."