Meningitis B Vaccine Bexsero

Press Release 16 December 2013

ACT for Meningitis is pleased with the news that the men B vaccine Bexsero is now available in Ireland on the private market, to help protect against the leading cause of bacterial and septicaemia meningitis. “While we are delighted that the men B vaccine is now available privately in Ireland, it is of the utmost importance that this vaccine is introduced to the national immunisation program and made available as soon as possible. Meningitis can strike in an instance, but its impact can last a lifetime. The fact that Ireland has the highest incidence of men B is a significant factor in the decision of the vaccine been made promptly at no cost”, says Siobhán Carroll, CEO of ACT for Meningitis. Bexsero received its European licence in January of this year.
Men B Vaccine Bexsero
The national immunisation advisory committee announced last week that it was continuing to consider whether it should recommend that the men B vaccine be added to the primary immunisation schedule. The committee said that it would discuss the matter again at its next meeting in January, with a decision expected within the next year. “Ireland has the highest incidence of meningococcal disease in Europe and with men B accounting for the majority of these cases, I support all efforts to control this disease through vaccination. The availability of the first broad protection vaccine for men B is a major milestone, but as a paediatrician who has witnessed at first-hand the devastation this disease can cause, universal vaccination through the national immunisation programme must be our ultimate goal”, says professor Alf Nicholson, consultant paediatrician at Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

What Is Bexsero?

Bexsero is the new men B vaccine, which received its European licence in January of 2013 and is now available privately in Ireland. This has the potential to add value to society, by helping to prevent children from dying or living with serious disabilities, as a result of men B. It has been developed to give protection against meningococcal group B disease, which is the most common bacterial meningitis and septicaemia in Ireland.

Where Can I Get It?

The Bexsero vaccine is available on private prescription through your GP, or by asking your pharmacist to order it for you. This vaccine is not currently included through the routine immunisation program. ACT for Meningitis continue to campaign for the future inclusion of the vaccine to the already implemented vaccine schedule.

How Can I Avail Of The Vaccine?

To avail of the new Bexsero vaccine, which is only available privately, you need to consult with your GP. Your GP will then need to request the vaccine from the suppliers, Allphar, in Dublin. You can also ask your pharmacist to get it for you. No decision has been made yet by NIAC, the national immunisation board, to have the vaccine made available to the public.

The number of doses vary according to the age of your children. See the following Bexsero table below:

Age Group Primary Immunisation Intervals Between Primary Doses Booster
Infants – 2 Months To 5 Months 3 doses each of 0.5 ml, with first dose given at 2 months of age (A) Not less than 1 month Yes, 1 dose between 12 and 23 months (B)
Unvaccinated Infants – 6 Months To 11 Months 2 doses each of 0.5 ml Not less than 2 months Yes, 1 dose in the 2nd year of life, with an interval of at least 2 months between the primary series and booster dose (B)
Unvaccinated Children – 12 Months To 23 Months 2 doses each of 0.5 ml Not less than 2 months Yes, 1 dose with an interval of 12 months to 23 months between the primary series and booster dose (B)
Children – 2 Years To 10 Years 2 doses each of 0.5 ml Not less than 2 months Need not established
Adolescents – From 11 Years And Adults (*) 2 doses each of 0.5 ml Not less than 1 month Need not established

(A) The first dose should be given at 2 months of age. The safety and efficacy of Bexsero in infants less than 8 weeks of age has not yet been established. No data is available.
(B) The need for and timing of further booster doses has not yet been determined.
(*) There are no data in adults above 50 years of age.

Are Vaccines Safe?

Vaccines are given to help stimulate the bodies immune system to fight infection.They contain safe components of a germ that can cause a disease.

When you are injected with a vaccine your immune system is stimulated to produce antibodies for the specific germ. This way if someone comes into contact with the disease the body can recognise it and is able to fight it.

All drug vaccines may cause side effects such as loss of appetite, sleepiness, rash, fever, tenderness and swelling. All medicines may cause side effects, but are usually mild. For a full list of all side effects see the Bexsero package leaflet.

Will Immunisation Still Work If My Child Does Not Get It At The Right Time?

Yes, most of the vaccines can be given at the time at any age. The vaccines already given will still work and your child will still develop protection, however your child needs to get the vaccines at the right age, so they are protected from serious diseases when they are most vulnerable. Consult with you GP with any questions you may have.

Do Vaccines Work?

Meningitis vaccines have a great success rate. Over time, vaccines that prevent various types of meningitis have been introduced into the childhood immunisation program, saving thousands of lives and significantly reducing the number of people living with life-long disabilities.

How Can I Help To Get This Vaccine Approved By NIAC (National Immunisation Advisory Committee)?

You can help ACT for Meningitis’s campaign of getting this vaccine into the childhood immunisation program by signing our petition, or request a petition from us, to get your family and friends to sign it and return it to us.

For further information call 091 380058, or you can also contact us. ACT for Meningitis will continue to campaign for the Bexsero vaccine to be made available at no cost.

References

Bexsero Summary Of Product Characteristics (2013) (Accessed 06 January 2014)
Childhood Immunisation (2013) (Accessed 07 January 2014)
European Medicines Agency (2012) (Accessed 07 January 2014)

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