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Mumps outbreak revives MMR uptake

Government immunisation advisers are considering giving pneumococcal and meningitis C vaccines together in just two doses, Pulse has learned.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has reviewed new results from a Department of Health trial indicating two doses of pneumococcal vaccine would be sufficient.

The committee also examined data suggesting two doses of meningitis C vaccine was as effective as three and is considering reducing the number of doses to fit with a new pneumococcal schedule.

The JCVI agreed last year to introduce the pneumococcal vaccine in the next two years subject to considerations over doses and their timing.

Professor David Goldblatt, JCVI member and leader of the new pneumococcal trial, said: 'The study is very valuable because it was done in the UK. We have also done studies looking at meningitis C and there is an option to reduce the number of doses.'

The study, which will be submitted for publication shortly, showed specific IgG titres were the same at five months of age whether children received pneumococcal vaccine at two, three and four months or just two and four.

The response to booster doses was equally good whichever schedule was used. A single dose of vaccine worked well in children over a year old and could be used in catch-up campaigns.

Professor Adam Finn, professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, told Pulse he thought a two-dose schedule was likely for pneumococcal and meningitis C.

'It's probably the way it will go and if it was up to me I wouldn't change everything at different times,' he said.

Professor Finn said the original decision to introduce meningitis C in three doses had aimed to 'keep things simple' by combining it with other child vaccines.

Dr George Kassianos, RCGP immunisation spokes-person, said two-dose schedules for pneumococcal and meningitis C vaccines had been discussed nationally and would be popular with parents as they would keep the number of shots to a minimum.

By Emma Wilkinson

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