New meningitis vaccines to be introduced in Wales
New vaccines to protect against different forms of meningitis will be introduced in Wales at the end of the summer, Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
As previously announced, the meningitis B vaccine will be introduced to the routine childhood vaccination programme in Wales. This will start in September.
The vaccination will be given in three doses at the age of two, four and 12 months, with all babies in Wales who are aged two months when the vaccine is introduced being eligible for the jab. There will be a catch-up programme for those children born between May 1 and June 30, 2015.
Around 1,200 people – mainly babies and children – get meningitis B each year in the UK and around one in 10 die from the infection. There were nine cases in Wales in the first five months of 2015.
In response to an increase in the number of cases of meningitis in the UK and based on advice from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – the national body which advises governments about vaccination – a new meningitis ACWY vaccine will be introduced in Wales, replacing the existing meningitis C jab, which is given to teenagers and people starting university.
From August, the vaccine will be offered to all students under 25 who are attending university for the first time this autumn. There will also be a catch-up programme for all 14 to 18-year-olds over the next two years.
Professor Drakeford said:
“I’m pleased to announce we will make the new MenB and MenACWY vaccines available in Wales.
“Wales is one of the first countries in the world to introduce a nation-wide MenB vaccination programme to help tackle the effects of this disease, which can be devastating for children and their families. I’m sure the introduction of this vaccine as part of the routine childhood vaccination programme in Wales will offer families extra peace of mind.
“I am very pleased to be able to approve the introduction of the MenACWY vaccine, which will protect teenagers against a number of forms of this disease, ensuring young people are protected at such an important time in their lives.”
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