1. ITV Report

Meningitis B vaccine roll-out rejected

An independent panel said the efficacy of the new vaccine has not been established. Photo: Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive

A vaccine which protects against a potentially deadly form of meningitis should not be offered to children in the UK, immunisation experts have said.

The independent panel, which advises the government on which vaccines should be offered in the UK, released a draft statement saying that the treatment against meningitis B should not be rolled out.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said the efficacy of the Bexsero vaccine "has not been established" and it is "high unlikely" to be cost-effective.

ITV News Science and Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty has this report:

The vaccine was licensed by the European Medicines Agency at the start of the year.

Meningitis charities have expressed their "disappointment" at the decision, saying that the vaccine could protect against 73% of cases of meningitis B strains in the UK.

This is extremely disappointing news after all our supporters and our hard work over decades to introduce a vaccine.

We understand the committee's concerns about impact and cost, but we believe this vaccine is safe and we know it will save lives.

The more we delay, the more lives are being lost.

– Sue Davie, Chief Executive of the Meningitis Trust and Meningitis UK.

Meningitis B, which is most common in children under five years old, and in particular in babies under the age of one, is a highly aggressive strain of bacterial meningitis. It can cause severe brain damage, septicaemia or even death.

Meningitis UK estimates that there are 1,870 cases of meningitis B each year in the UK.