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Meningitis B vaccine ‘effective as part of child vaccine schedule’

A meningitis B vaccine could be added to the routine schedule for infant vaccines without affecting its immunogenicity, finds a large European study.

The randomised controlled trial – funded by Novartis - found that the multicomponent ‘4CMenB' vaccine was effective when given as part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule and shows minimal interference with the routine vaccines.

After three vaccinations, 99% of infants developed immunity - defined by researchers as a human complement serum bactericidal activity titre of 1.5 or greater – against two strains of meningitis B.

In children who were vaccinated at two, four and six months, alongside their routine vaccinations, 79% developed immunity. Of those who received the vaccine at two, four and six months, and had their routine vaccinations separately, 86% developed immunity. And of those who had the vaccination at two, three and four months alongside their routine vaccinations, 82% developed immunity.

Study author Professor Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford, said: ‘The flexibility in schedule allows [4CMenB vaccine] to be incorporated into a range of country-specific immunisation schedules and for primary immunisation to be completed in early infancy.'

JAMA, February 8, 2010

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