HC Deb 10 January 2000 vol 342 c50W
Mr. Swayne

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to extend immunisation against meningitis to young people on industrial placements prior to university entry. [98725]

Yvette Cooper

While on placements, the risk for these young people from meningococcal disease is the same as for the adult population. Next year, when they either return or go on to higher education, they may be eligible for immunisation. We are seeking advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the Government's independent expert advisory committee, on the use of meningococcal vaccine for young people who have not already been vaccinated at school and who will be first year students at the start of the 2000–01 academic year.

Mr. Crausby

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children have been immunised with the meningitis vaccine since the current immunisation programme was introduced. [100605]

Yvette Cooper

Data on how many children have been given the new meningococcal Group C conjugate vaccine are not yet available.

Immunisation of young people aged 15, 16 and 17 years began from 1 November. Immunisation of babies when they are due for their routine vaccines at two, three and four months and around 13 months began from 29 November. Coverage data for meningococcal Group C conjugate vaccine will be collected through the routine quarterly COVER/Körner returns for children up to five years of age. The earliest these routinely collected data will become available will be November 2000, but we expect coverage data on some other catch-up age groups to be available earlier. The exact timescale will depend on vaccine supply and how the immunisation programme rolls out next year.

From the start of the programme up to and including Friday 26 November, a total of 1,734,560 doses of meningococcal Group C conjugate vaccine had been issued to general practitioners or National Health Service trust pharmacies throughout the United Kingdom.

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