Patricia Navarro and María del Mar Vázquez at Malaga’s Materno Infantil Hospital on Tuesday. / SUR

Vaccination calendar for free meningitis B jabs announced by the Junta

Three doses of the Bexsero vaccine will be given to children at the ages of two, four and 15 months

ÁNGEL ESCALERA

The vaccine against meningitis B will begin to be given, free of charge, to children in Andalucía from 2 December, according to Junta’s delegate in Malaga, Patricia Navarro.

During a visit to Malaga’s Materno Infantil Hospital, on Tuesday (23 Novenber), Navarro explained that the meningitis B vaccine (marketed under the name Bexsero) will be administered to infants born from October 1, 2021. It is estimated that some 65,000 children in Andalucía will benefit from it every year, at an approximate annual cost to the region of 11 million euros.

High price

The vaccination schedule has three doses, to be administered at two, four and 15 months of age to the little ones. Navarro pointed out that, until now, due to the high price of this drug (320 euros for three doses), many families in Andalucia could not vaccinate their children with Bexsero

The vaccine prevents meningitis produced by a bacterium called meningococcus B, which mainly affects young children under five years of age, with a 10-20 per cent mortality rate and 30 per cent risk of serious complications. This type of meningitis is the most common in childhood throughout Europe. The Spanish Association of Paediatrics has been demanding its inclusion in the vaccination calendar since 2015.

A study carried out in Spain has shown that infants under one year of age who have been vaccinated privately in recent years have had 93 per cent fewer cases of meningitis B than those who have not been vaccinated.