Eastbourne MP Backs 'Catch Up' Meningitis Jab

Monday 9th May 2016

 

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell has backed calls by campaigners for children between and one and four to be given a “catch-up” Meningitis B vaccine.

MPs debated the issue last week following a petition signed by more than 800,000 people calling for the jab to be given not just to those under one, but to older children.

The Government said that the present system was the right one that was targeting newborns who were the highest risk group, and to vaccinate older children would not be cost effective.

“The Government is be applauded for its world leading meningitis B vaccination programme that will save lives of the very young,” said Caroline.

“But I’m of the view that it should look again at this decision to vaccinate only newborns and offer a one-off 'catch-up' for children up to their fifth birthday so that it better covers that very young group that is at some risk but has just missed out on a jab.

“Of course, the Government has to ensure that the programme offers the best outcomes for the cost of what is an expensive vaccine, but I think the “catch up” course of action is an adequate compromise between protection and cost.

“Campaigners wanted the programme to be extended to all children up to 11 but I think there is not a case for this as the disease is very rare in the five to 11 age range.

“I will be writing to the health minister asking her to look again at the decision, or to at least keep the medical evidence under review on what age to vaccinate, so that action can be taken if it changes.”

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