U.K. Parliament holds first Evidence Session on meningitis B vaccine petition

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The Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) has commented on the inspiring, moving evidence that was presented at the first Evidence Session at the House of Commons about the upcoming parliamentary debate on a petition to require all people who live in the U,K, and who are under 11 years old, to receive the vaccine for meningitis B, or MenB.

“The families’ evidence today graphically illustrated why meningitis is every parent's worst nightmare,” MRF Chief Executive Vinny Smith said. “This is an exceptional disease, with exceptional fear associated with it. We believe this concern must be taken into account when calculating what is and is not cost-effective."

There will be two Evidence Sessions on MenB. These sessions give families and representatives the opportunity to present their evidence about the dangerous disease.

Several families attended the sessions. The Burdett family participated. Their daughter Faye died at just 2 years old this past February. Her death has stirred an unprecedented amount of interest in the MenB petition.

“It takes great courage and belief to tell, for the greater good, the heart-breaking stories of how MenB has affected their families,” Smith said.

“Fundamentally, we think the government’s rejection of wider MenB use is wrong because the current rules on cost-effectiveness are unfair,” Smith said.

The second Evidence Session features Linda Glennie, the MRF head of research and medical information, who will discuss the point of the vaccine’s cost-effectiveness.

“As we've been saying for many years, the key to successful meningitis vaccines programs, like MenC in the U.K. and MenA in Africa, is herd protection, vaccinating the carriers of the disease so that they cannot spread the bacteria among the wider population,” Glennie said. “Vaccinating teenagers to prevent carriage of this bacteria, even under the current rules, could be a cost-effective solution that would protect everyone.”

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Meningitis Research Foundation

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