New Government vaccine programme to tackle meningitis welcomed by medical law expert

This week the government announced the introduction of two new meningitis vaccine programmes which will be rolled out later this year.

From 1 September 2015, after months of waiting the new Men B vaccine will be offered to all babies of 2 months of age.

A second dose will be given at 4 months and a booster at 12 months. This is good news for all babies who are 2 months old after 1 September 2015.

Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia are caused by the Meningococcus bacteria.

Meningococcal B is one strain of this bacteria . There are other strains; A, C, W and Y. B and C are the most common in the UK.

There are approximately 1,500 reported cases of meningococcal disease each year in the UK. Around 7% of cases will result in death.

Of those who survive, 15% will be left with severe and disabling after-effects such as loss of hearing, loss of sight and brain damage.

In addition to the Men B vaccine, another new vaccine is being introduced to help prevent cases of meningitis A, C, W, Y.

There has been particular concern about Meningitis W cases, which in the UK have quadrupled in 5 years. It has particularly affected university students.

The new ACWY vaccine will be offered to 17-18 years olds and older university students from 19 to 25 who will receive one dose of the vaccine in August.

Nicola Wainwright, medical negligence specialist at Leigh Day welcomed the introduction of these new vaccination programmes, she said:

“Meningitis and septicemia whether caused by meningococcal A,B,C,W or Y are aggressive and devastating conditions. Anything that reduces the number of people who have to suffer can only be a good thing”.

However, echoing warnings given by the charity Meningitis Now, Nicola went on to say:

“These vaccines will not irradicate meningococcal and so it is vital that everyone is aware of the symptoms to look out for, as in those cases that the new vaccines do not prevent the best chance of a good recovery comes with prompt diagnosis and treatment”.

Meningitis Now publish signs and symptoms checkers here