COMMONS

MPs to question Minister about Government’s failure to publish key report about vaccines

23 February 2018

MPs on the Petitions Committee will question Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care, Steve Brine, on Tuesday 27 February.

The evidence session will begin at 2.15pm in Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster. Attending alongside the Minister will be:

  • Chris Mullin, Chief Economist, Department of Health and Social Care
  • Dr Mary Ramsay, Consultant Epidemiologist and Head of Immunisation, Public Health England

Background

Following a petition signed by more than 820,000 people, which called for the meningitis B vaccine to be given to all children, the Petitions and Health Committees in 2016 hear evidence from families, charities and medical experts. It was clear from this that there were serious concerns about the way that the Government decides whether a vaccine is cost-effective.

There was already a Working Group looking at this. That Group is known as “CEMIPP”— “Cost Effectiveness Methodology for Immunisation Programmes and Procurement”. The Committees called on the Government to publish the CEMIPP report, and to commit to doing a full public consultation on its recommendations. The Government agreed to publish the report, and said that it hoped to do this before the end of 2016.

Nearly two years after the petition closed, and despite repeated requests from MPs, that report has not been published. The Petitions Committee has called in the Minister to explain why.

Chair's comments

Helen Jones MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, said:

"The petition calling for the meningitis B vaccine to be given to all children was signed by 823,000 people—many of them moved by the stories of families who had lost children to this devastating disease.  It’s the third largest petition we’ve ever had on the parliamentary e-petitions site, which shows just how important this issue is to the public.

It was clear from the evidence that we heard in 2016 that there are serious questions to answer about the way the Government decides which vaccines are cost-effective. The Government itself recognises this—it set up its own Working Group to investigate. But that report was produced 18 months ago and it still hasn’t seen the light of day. 

These may sound like technical issues, but they’re key to decisions that could save children’s lives. The Committee will want to find out from the Minister why the Government is dragging its feet on something so important."

The Chairs of the Health and Petitions Committees wrote to the Department of Health about the meningitis B vaccine in November 2017—you can view this correspondence on our website:

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

Share this page