Thank you for contacting me recently about the debate held on 25 April regarding the Meningitis B vaccination e-petition. I do appreciate your concerns.

 

Unfortunately I was unable attend the debate due to Ministerial engagements but I understand that it was very well attended. You can read the proceedings in full here: http://tinyurl.com/zc5vae3

 

I understand that meningococcal infections can be very serious, causing meningitis and blood poisoning, and this is most common in babies and young children.

 

Consequently, I am proud that England is now the first country in the world to implement a national, publically funded Meningitis B vaccination programme.

 

Since September 2015, babies have been offered the Meningitis B vaccine aged 2 months old, with boosters at 4 months and 12 months, as part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination programme. The vaccine is also available for the small number of older children who are at increased risk of infection, such as those with specific immune problems.

 

I am aware that the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Government on all immunisation matters, has not recommended the use of the Meningitis B vaccine in other age groups, including older children. However, it has advised that further research is needed into its effectiveness in preventing transition of infection in adolescents and I am assured that the Government is working with health organisations to address this.

 

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation keeps the eligibility criteria of all vaccination programmes under constant review and considers new evidence as it becomes available. The Minister for Public Health, Jane Ellison MP, states in her speech during the debate that, “if the JCVI’s advice changes, I will consider it as a priority”.

 

I hope this is of some reassurance and thank you again to all those who took the time to contact me.