UK babies still waiting for Meningitis B vaccine

Novartis’ Meningitis B vaccines arrival in the UK is delayed as the government fails to enter negotiations.

Despite a positive recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Novartis’ Meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, is still yet to become available in the UK.

The Committee called for Bexsero to be offered to all UK children from the age of two months as part of a National Immunisation Programme in March, prompting the Department of Health to pledge to lead the world’s first Meningitis B vaccination programme.

However, the government failed to enter into negotiations with Novartis and the title has now been taken by Canada. An area of Quebec used Bexsero to run the first public vaccination programme earlier this month, with 45,000 doses administered to children and infants.

As negotiations between the government and Novartis have still not yet commenced, it is unlikely Bexsero will be available as part of a public vaccination programme in 2014. The pharma company have warned that with each month the government delays, 58,000 babies will become too old to receive the vaccine.