Meningitis B jab not to be given routinely to children

The meningitis B jab Bexsero has been excluded from the UK’s childhood immunisation programme, but its manufacturer, Novartis, said that this is not in the best interest of people. The JCVI UK didn’t recommend the vaccine because it was not able to prove its efficiency based on the UK’s current method of evaluation.

In a particular statement sent to Pharma Times, the Swiss drug giant argued that the current method used in determining the cost effectiveness of Bexero failed to capture the lifetime benefit of disease prevention. The UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation underestimates the life threatening impact of meningitis B.

Novartis claimed that it was not actually asked about the pricing as part of the assessment of JCVI, but Novartis stressed that it’s going to provide relevant input before finalising their recommendations. The second meeting will take place in October and if the decision of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) remained unchanged, then the simple fact remains that meningitis B will remain to be a life threatening disease for children in the United Kingdom. The drug giant also warned that meningitis B can cause disability and needless death.

A total of 2,000 children are affected by meningitis B every year and one out of 10 children die because of the disease. A quarter of children who contacted meningitis experienced limb and brain damage and the mortality rate of children in the United Kingdom is one of the highest in the entire Europe. The Meningitis Research Foundation said that the rejection of the vaccine is a “severe blow” considering the fact that the number of children suffering from meningitis is increasing alarmingly.

Professor David Salisbury, the Director of Immunisation, said that the vaccine lacks concrete evidence. He went onto say that he needed Novartis to provide proof as to how the vaccine will protect children from contacting meningitis and how it will be able to stop the spread of the disease from one person to another.