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MenC vaccine

Volume 646: debated on Tuesday 4 September 2018

The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that in March 2016 the Joint Committee of Vaccination recommended that infants aged twelve weeks no longer require the vaccination against meningococcal serogroup C (MenC) due to the success of the immunisation programme that started in 1999; further that from July 2016, the MenC vaccine for twelve week old babies was discontinued from the NHS childhood vaccination programme and further declares that there was a baby girl in Bradford recently left fighting for her life after contracting MenC at the age of ten months and that one case of MenC is one too many.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to reintroduce the MenC vaccine for babies aged twelve weeks.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Judith Cummins, Official Report, 14 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 1184.]


Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Steve Brine):

The incidence of meningococcal group C (MenC) disease is very low across all age groups, including infants and young children, due to the successful implementation of the MenC vaccine programme in 1999.

In June 2015, our expert group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), advised that children now need two rather than three doses of vaccine that protects against MenC. As a result the United Kingdom (UK) vaccination schedule changed from 1 July 2016.

Children no longer have a dose of MenC vaccine at 3 months of age. However they continue to be protected against group C meningococcal disease through the routine 12-month MenC/Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine and a dose of a combined vaccine against meningococcal groups A, C, W, and Y in teenagers.

The new meningococcal vaccine (Bexsero®) was introduced into the national infant immunisation programmes in September 2015. This offers protection against group B meningococcal (MenB) disease but is also expected to provide some protection against certain strains of MenC. The MenB vaccine is provided at 2, 4 and 12 months.

Cases of MenC disease remain extremely low across England. Public Health England (PHE) continue to closely monitor rates of disease. Local PHE centres follow up and investigate all cases, and recommend any necessary precautionary measures to prevent further cases.

The JCVI keeps all vaccination programmes under regular review.