The Petitions Committee questioned Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care, Steve Brine, about delays to the publication of the Government’s report on the cost-effectiveness of vaccines. The report, which was due to be published in 2016, was finally published yesterday following continued pressure from the Petitions and Health Committees.
Responding to the Minister’s evidence, Petitions Committee Chair Helen Jones MP said:
“The Minister failed to justify why it took so long to publish the report and commit to a consultation, and why the report was published less than 24 hours before the Committee questioned the Minister. We are pleased that the Minister has agreed to look again at what more can be done to engage with people affected by meningitis.
The Minister confirmed that pressure from our Committee and petitioners has pushed the Government in the right direction, but the long delay suggests that the Government needs to take the concerns of petitioners more seriously more quickly.
We’ve heard serious concerns from charities about the technical model the Government is using to decide which vaccines are cost-effective. The Government must listen carefully to experts in the sector before making any decisions on something so important.
We will continue to fight to make sure that petitioners’ voices are heard and that the Government is held to account. Vaccines save children’s lives, and the Government must not simply kick decisions into the long-grass.”