The issues surrounding the Meningitis B Vaccine have now been discussed in Parliament, after a petition calling on the government to extend the vaccine to all children reached a record number of signatures.
The debate took place on 25th April, and whilst the government decided not to extend the vaccine to all children, they did say the discussion on this topic needed to continue:
“During the debate Health Minister, Jane Ellison MP, announced that – based on the evidence and advice that has been received – the Government cannot support extending the meningitis B vaccination programme to older children. But that doesn’t mean that the Government and Parliament won’t continue to look into this issue.
The Government has set up a working group to look at how decisions about the cost-effectiveness of vaccines are made. The Minister said that the Government would publish the report of this group when it is ready later this year. She also promised to give a written briefing summarising the report and the Government’s proposed next steps. When this happens, we’ll email you to let you know where you can read it.
The Minister also confirmed that a preliminary study of the meningococcal strains carried by teenagers is now under way and will report in February 2017.
During the debate, she also announced that she has asked Public Health England to develop a national awareness campaign that will focus on the dangerous infections that parents worry about the most, including meningitis, septicaemia and sepsis. The campaign will focus on the symptoms that parents need to look out for.
In his closing remarks Ben Howlett MP, the member of the Petition Committee who led the debate, said:
“…I lend my thanks to the petitioners, the families, the charities and all those who gave evidence to the joint Health Committee and Petitions Committee sittings for their time, their passion, their work around our country and their fundraising for little children, including little girls like Harmonie-Rose in my constituency and many thousands of others in the rest of the UK.
I was pleased to hear about the public awareness campaign that the Minister announced…[and]…the Minister’s wish to report back to the Petitions Committee and the Health Committee on the reports (on the cost-effectiveness methodology for immunisation) that will be produced later in the summer. I look forward to seeing what reforms…will be discussed.
…This is not the end of the journey. There is no doubt that this is a long-term conversation that needs to be had. Any life lost is one too many”. ”
If you would like to watch the debate, you can do so here.
And here is the full transcript.