Meningitis booster jabs needed, DH advisers say

Meningitis booster vaccines for adolescents should be introduced 'as soon as practicable' to counter falling immunity after the end of an under-25 catch-up programme, DH advisers have said.

DH: advisers back meningitis booster campaign for adolescents
DH: advisers back meningitis booster campaign for adolescents

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that it expected meningococcal C disease cases to rise following the end of the catch-up programme for under-25s, although when this might happen was not yet clear.

In the minutes of its latest meeting released this week, the JCVI subcommittee on adolescent vaccinations said a monovalent meningococcal vaccine should be used as a booster dose for adolescents.

‘The subcommittee, noting that there is uncertainty about when the expected increase in meningococcal C disease may arise, considered that a booster dose should be introduced as soon as practicable on precautionary grounds.’

The JCVI said that such the booster vaccine would be most effectively delivered in schools.

Subcommittee members agreed that it would be most beneficial to target 15-year-olds for booster vaccination. But they said that the effectiveness and practicalities of a programme delivered at that age would need to be considered.

The subcommittee also pointed out that the use of monovalent meningococcal C vaccines for booster doses was outside the current market authorisations for the vaccines, and that the cost-effectiveness of any programme would need to be formally assessed.

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