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Government seeking ‘rapid’ agreement over price of meningitis B vaccine

The Government has begun price negotiations with the manufacturer of a meningitis B vaccine, with a view to introducing the vaccine into the routine infant schedule, the Department of Health has announced.

Government advisors gave the go-ahead for routine meningitis B (men B) vaccination on the NHS five months ago, having ruled it out the year before.

However, they recommended it should only be introduced if the vaccine is made available at a low enough price to make it cost-effective.

The DH said negotiations over the vaccine – brand name Bexsero – are now underway with manufacturer Novartis, to ensure a cost-effective price ‘is reached rapidly’.

The introduction of the men B vaccine will see GPs administer it to toddlers from the age of two months, as part of the usual primary childhood immunisation programme.

Deputy chief medical officer Professor John Watson said: ‘Documents have been sent to Novartis so negotiations can begin, we hope they will work constructively with use to ensure a cost-effective price is reached rapidly.’

Dr Paul Cosford, director of health protection and medical director at Public Health England, said: ‘We are working closely with our partners in NHS England to ensure that, if the procurement is successful, we are ready for the UK to become the first country in the world to roll out a national immunisation programme to protect children from MenB.’

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