England: meningococcal vaccine reduces disease by almost two-thirds

20 March 2020

Infant vaccination against group B meningococcal disease (MenB) has significantly reduced the number of cases of the disease in young children, research by Public Health England shows.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, shows that by the third year of the programme, cases of MenB disease were 62% lower in children who were eligible for at least two doses of the vaccine. Between 2015 and 2018, an estimated 277 out of an expected 446 cases were prevented because of the programme.

MenB is one of the leading infectious killers in young children: around one in 20 children who contract the disease will die. In September 2015, the UK became the first country to offer a new vaccine (Bexsero) to babies at eight and 16 weeks, followed by a booster around their first birthday.

Dr Tom Nutt, CEO at Meningitis Now, said: ‘We’d encourage as many families as possible to take advantage of this vaccine, protect their children from meningitis, and avoid the heartache that this devastating disease leaves in its wake.

‘We know that there’s a lot of misinformation about vaccines on social media and on the internet, but this latest report shows that parents shouldn’t worry about the safety of the vaccine – in fact, it saves precious lives.’