Over three million teenagers to be vaccinated against 'virulent' new Meningitis strain - (The Independent via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The UK Department of Health said more than 3 million adolescents will be offered GlaxoSmithKline's MenACWY conjugate vaccine against meningococcal W (MenW) disease after a surge in meningitis cases caused by a new "highly aggressive" strain of bacteria, reported The Independent.
  • The department stated it would act on the expert recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), while health officials in Wales and Scotland have also said they would consider the JCVI's advice.
  • Officials will now enter into discussions with GlaxoSmithKline to prepare national immunisation programmes.
  • Andrew Pollard, chair of the JCVI, said the committee had concluded that, left unchecked, the increase in MenW cases would be likely to continue.
  • The decision over MenW comes a year after the Department of Health pledged to vaccinate all children against meningococcal B (MenB).
  • However, negotiations between the department and Novartis, manufacturer of the MenB vaccine Bexsero, which also protects against MenW, are still ongoing.

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