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J Paediatr Child Health. 2001 Oct;37(5):S34-6; discussion 37.

Introduction of a conjugate meningococcal type C vaccine programme in the UK.

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Department of Health, Skipton House, London, UK.



The purpose of the UK initiative was to accelerate the development and introduction of new conjugate meningococcal C vaccine into the routine immunisation programme, and to implement a catch-up campaign based on the disease epidemiology.


Collaboration between Government supported institutions and the vaccine industry lead to a collaborative programme of research designed to answer policy specific questions and to accelerate the availability of new vaccines.


Three new conjugate meningococcal C vaccines were developed and licensed for use in the UK after satisfactory data on safety and immunogenicity had been generated. A nationwide campaign was designed to offer vaccine to all infants at the same time as their three doses of primary immunisations, two doses were offered to children over 4 months and under 1 year old; all those over 1 and under 18 years old were offered a single dose of vaccine. The programme was on course for completion within approximately twelve months, with around 15 million immunisations being offered. The programme was implemented simultaneously through school and primary care services.


A safe and effective new vaccine, against group C meningococcal disease, has been introduced into the UK immunisation programme after just a 5 year development to implementation process. Early indications point to high coverage and impacts on disease are already apparent in the groups that have been immunised. These vaccines may play an equally important role in other countries where there is a significant burden from Group C meningococcal disease.

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