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Government to consider men B vaccine roll-out

23 February 2016

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The government have agreed to debate the roll out of the meningitis B (men B) vaccine to all children, rather than just babies aged two to five months.

There are about 1,800 cases of the bacterial infection each year, and it kills around one in ten that it infects.

The debate comes after a petition to rollout the programme to all children up to at least the age of 11 has received nearly 800,000 signatures. 

After an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures it must be considered for a debate by parliament, and the Petitions Committee have agreed to schedule one for this petition.

However, before setting a date for the debate, the Committee want MPs to hear from some of the families who have been affected by meningitis B as well as from relevant medical experts. “This will help to inform MPs taking part in the House of Commons debate,” they said.

Men B can lead to blood poisoning or inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It also causes significant, and permanent disability in about one in five survivors.

The petition description reads: “All children are at risk from this terrible infection, yet the government plan to only vaccinate 2-5 month olds. There needs to be a rollout programme to vaccinate all children, at least up to age 11. Meningococcal infections can be very serious, causing meningitis, septicaemia and death.”

The date of the debate, and more details “will be announced in due course” the Committee stated.