Leaders at the Meningitis Research Foundation recently applauded the decision to introduce the MenB vaccine into the Primary Childhood Immunization Schedule beginning in September.
“Today’s news is very positive for everyone who has been tirelessly campaigning for this MenB vaccine,” Diane McConnell, deputy CEO of Meningitis Research Foundation, said. “MenB has been at the top of this charity's agenda for decades and we are delighted that vaccinating all babies against this devastating disease is now a reality.”
The highest rates of MenB are found in Ireland, where an average of 100 people develop the disease each year.
MenB infections can happen in anyone at any age, but teenagers and children under 5 years old have the highest risks. Just one out of every 10 people with MenB quickly dies. In addition, one out of every three survivors has life-changing disabilities, such as brain damage, limb amputation or deafness because of the disease.
Beginning in December 2013, the MenB vaccine has been made privately available throughout Ireland, but the expense of the vaccine has prevented many families from having their children immunized for the disease.
“We would like to see everyone protected against MenB, and vaccinating teenagers could be the solution to this because they are key to transmission and spread,” McConnell said. “We need to find out if the vaccine can stop teenagers picking up and passing on the bacteria.”