On Sunday 21 June 2015, the UK Government announced that two new vaccine programmes will be launched this September to protect babies and young people against the meningococcal bacterium. In response, Professor Peter Openshaw, President of the BSI, and Professor Anne Cooke, Chair of the BSI Forum, issued the following statement:
“The British Society for Immunology welcomes the UK Government’s announcement that new types of meningitis vaccine will be offered to people in England and Scotland. One is against meningitis B and is for new-born babies; the other is against meningitis ACWY and is for 17-18-year-olds.
“Vaccines are among the most cost-effective ways of improving health. Offering these vaccines as part of a publicly-funded programme represents a huge step forward in our ability to protect children and young people from contracting this devastating disease.
“Innovations such as this are the result of years of research into how the immune system operates and into harnessing its potential to develop safe and effective ways to protect the public. Many of the new drugs and treatments now on the horizon come from basic and applied immunological research, a field in which the UK excels. It is important that the UK it continues its investment in biomedical sciences to keep us at the forefront of this type of research internationally.”