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GPs should ‘mop up’ after meningitis C booster programme

GPs could be faced with ‘mopping up’ after a programme of meningitis C booster vaccination is rolled out in schools, say DH immunisation experts.

DH advisers say there is more evidence to carry out a proposed booster campaign in schools, rather than in GP practices, with GPs left with targeting hard-to-reach adolescent groups.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended a meningitis C vaccine dose should be moved from the infant schedule and replaced with a booster in teenagers in January.

Pulse revealed the move could mean GPs losing out financially, with payments for meningitis totalling 25% of GP vaccination payments for the under-twos at risk.

Currently infants receive two doses of meningitis C vaccine at three and four months of age, and a booster at 12 months with a catch up campaign in the under 25s.

Draft minutes from the committee – published last month – said further discussion was needed, but the evidence favoured using schools.

It said: ‘Schools-based delivery of adolescent vaccinations is more effective on current evidence, but GP practices could play an important role in mop up vaccinations or of vaccinations of harder-to-reach adolescent groups.’

Dr George Kassianos, a GP in Bracknell, Berkshire, and RCGP immunisation lead, said he agreed with the committee’s conclusions, but urged adequate remuneration for practices.

‘It should not be left to local arrangements as it is a serious matter for the health of our children,’ he said.

A spokesperson from the DH said:‘These discussions are ongoing and no decisions have been made. The committee has agreed that further work is needed before final recommendations can be made to Government.’