Via The Guardian: New meningitis vaccine drive ‘will save thousands of lives’. Excerpt:
Babies, teenagers and students in many parts of the UK will start receiving potentially life-saving vaccination against meningitis within weeks in a move hailed as a turning point in the fight against the deadly disease.
Medical experts and charities working to beat meningitis welcomed the Department of Health’s confirmation that a major extension of the immunisation programme will begin in August in England and Scotland. Dame Barbara Hakin of NHS England said the jabs “will save lives for years to come”.
All 17- and 18-year-olds will be offered a combined vaccine giving protection against four strains of the disease, Meningococcal A, C, W and Y (MenACWY). They are a particularly important target group because many will be getting ready to go to university, where they will be at greater risk, especially from the W strain, which is increasingly common, which is increasingly common. Any 19- to 25-year-old starting university this year will also be offered the same jab. Both age groups are at higher risk because of close contact with their peers, for example in university halls of residence.
In September, Britain will become the first country in the world to start a national, publicly funded immunisation drive against meningitis B. Parents in England and Scotland will be able to have their babies immunised against that strain of the disease at two months old with the Bexsero vaccine, then take them for a second dose at four months and a final booster around their first birthday.
“I’m very proud that we will be able to offer families extra peace of mind with these two vaccine programmes from this summer,” said public health minister Jane Ellison. “The nationwide MenB programme will mean that England leads the world in offering children protection from this devastating disease.”