Firstly, thank you for the various responses to the first post. It’s by far my most popular to date, with over 2,000 views in the last few days!! There I was going to post about reaching 2,000 visitors on Saturday, and now we’ve had 3,487!! Hello, by the way, if you’re new!
Some of you may have noticed, I’ve updated the meningitis page slightly since finding a paper on duration of protection (albeit a very small sample). Looks to me like a booster will be required at some point, possibly around age 3, though until there are studies with much larger numbers it’s impossible to say for sure. Worth bearing in mind if you’ve paid for private vaccinations in older children and want to extend their protection, or if you’ve had a baby vaccinated and would like them to be covered past preschool. One to watch for answers.
However, all that may not matter if the government choose to introduce a comprehensive catch up campaign. Today they have confirmed the issue will be debated in parliament. While I’m not sure the data on efficacy or duration of protection is there, it wouldn’t be unheard of for government to make a decision based on public opinion. It still seems unlikely to me, without firm details of the cost implications of a catch up campaign with possibly several boosters, but you never know. Although I think it unlikely, and if they do it will prove me wrong, you won’t catch me complaining. It’s a horrible disease with a safe vaccine. If the government decide they can afford to do this I will be over the moon!!
Finally, I was wondering what it was particularly about Meningitis B that has caught people’s attention (do let me know if you have a theory). I get that it’s a horrible, horrible disease…but the petition about Group B Strep (GBS) testing in pregnant women is only at 230,000 signatures, compared to the 700,000 in just a few days for Men B. Maybe it’s timing or the strange world of social media (which I’m still learning about daily)? Or that picture of the poor child that died of Men B? Or less awareness around GBS? Or, I guess there are always more parents of young children, than there are those expecting babies – maybe there’s a selfish element to it. Or, maybe people have researched it and come to a decision as to why to sign one and not the other? I don’t know.
Very briefly, Group B Step is the leading cause of meningitis in newborns, (433 cases of GBS in babies under 90 days old in 2014) and could be prevented through screening and treatment of pregnant women. This is complicated, as many women carry GBS with no ill effect, and treating women who are at a very low risk with intrusive procedures (IV antibiotics during labour) is far from ideal. But, it’s not that different a situation from Men B. It’s on my list of topics to cover, so keep your eyes peeled for that one!