Questions

Meningitis B vaccine

Dennis Robertson (Aberdeenshire West) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government how many babies would be eligible each year for the meningitis B vaccine if it was included in the national immunisation programme. (S4W-23509)
Minister of Public Health (Maureen Watt): The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that there should be a national meningococcal B immunisation programme for infants using a three dose schedule of Bexsero (at two, four and 12 months of age), subject to the vaccine being available at a cost-effective price.If the vaccine can be procured at a cost-effective price, and the meningitis B vaccine is introduced into the routine infant immunisation programme, then at the point of introduction all babies in Scotland attending for their routine two month vaccination appointment would also receive the meningitis B vaccine. We estimate around 60,000 babies will be eligible each year.The JCVI has also advised that if the programme is introduced there should be a one-off, opportunistic catch-up programme for babies aged three and four months who would have not had the opportunity to receive the vaccine at two months of age.

Dennis Robertson (Aberdeenshire West) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on including the meningitis B vaccine in the national immunisation programme. (S4W-23513)

Minister of Public Health (Maureen Watt): The Scottish Government is delighted that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has identified the importance of introducing a vaccine against meningitis B and welcomes the JCVI’s recommendation to introduce a meningitis B vaccination programme to the primary infant immunisation schedule at two, four and 12 months of age.The first step involves determining whether the vaccine can be procured at a cost-effective price, as the JCVI is recommending. This is a matter for negotiation with the manufacturers. The UK Department of Health procures vaccine on behalf of all four UK countries and is currently in negotiations with the manufacturer Novartis to seek to agree a cost-effective