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expert reaction to PHE-released figures of number of cases of meningitis B since the MenB vaccination programme was started

The number of cases of meningitis B has fallen since the introduction of a vaccination programme one year ago.

 

Dr Matthew Snape, Consultant in General Paediatrics and Vaccinology and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“These are very exciting data, providing the first direct proof that the MenB vaccine works. We already knew that babies make a good immune response to immunisation with the MenB vaccine, but the data presented today provide the first ‘real world’ evidence that using this vaccine  can prevent MenB disease. The UK has taken a lead on this, and paediatricians and public health doctors around the world have been waiting to see these results. It is especially encouraging to see such a clear result only 10 months from the introduction of the vaccine.”

 

Linda Glennie, Head of Research, Meningitis Research Foundation, said:

“These early results are great news for families everywhere. This is the first real-world evidence that shows the national MenB immunisation programme for children under age one is effective and saving lives. We hope that other countries burdened by MenB will now consider protecting their people from this deadly disease, bringing us closer to a world free from meningitis.

“Introducing the MenB vaccine in the UK for babies in 2015 was a major step forward, but restricting the vaccine to only this narrow highest risk age group can never prevent the majority of cases.

“We will continue to convince the UK government that everyone needs protection. We believe vaccinating teenagers could be the key to achieving this, as it may stop them picking up and passing on the bacteria.

“Meningitis and septicaemia can kill in hours, and leave around a third of survivors with life-changing after effects. We will continue to gather evidence and expertise that will unlock protection against MenB for everyone.”

 

Declared interests

Dr Matthew Snape: “I am a paediatrician working at the Oxford Vaccine Group (University of Oxford). The Oxford Vaccine Group gave the first childhood dose of this MenB vaccine in 2006, and since then have enrolled over 1200 children into studies evaluating the vaccine. These studies have been funded by the vaccine manufacturer (initially Novartis Vaccines, now GSK). All payment to conduct these studies has been made to the University of Oxford, and I have not personally financially benefited from these payments.”

No others received.

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