The only vaccine to protect against a deadly form of meningitis should not be introduced in the UK, the body that advises governments on immunisation says.
To my surprise, around 1,870 people contract meningitis B each year and one in 10 dies!
Yet the vaccine to immunise children from the bacterial infection is rejected. Unfortunately,it’s mostly children under five who are most at risk. The infection leads to inflammations of the brain and spinal cord.Of those who survive a meningitis B infection, one in four is left with life altering after-effects such as brain damage or limb loss.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said the vaccine, Bexsero, was not cost-effective and should not yet be adopted by the NHS. Is this ethical or morally correct? Should a potentially life-saving vaccine be rejected, simply due to cost effectiveness?
“Tests have suggested the vaccine is effective against 73% of the different strains of the disease. It was licensed for use in Europe in January 2013.However, there are questions about the effectiveness as very large trials would be needed to show how it affects the number of cases or how it would control the spread of the bacterium. So far no country has introduced the vaccine.
The JCVI said: “On the basis of the available evidence, routine infant or toddler immunisation using Bexsero is highly unlikely to be cost effective at any vaccine price based on the accepted threshold for cost effectiveness used in the UK and could not be recommended.”