A new vaccine for the prevention of Men B in young people has been made available in the UK.

Pfizer announced today (6 July) the availability of the meningococcal group B vaccine, Trumenba in the UK. It was designed for active immunisation of people 10 years and older.

The vaccine is Pfizer's first immunisation aimed at protecting against meningococcal serogroup B, providing an 'additional option of immunisation against this rare, yet devastating disease', the manufacturer said.

It launches in the UK private market this month following marketing authorisation from the European Commission on 24 May.

Darius Hughes, head of vaccines for Pfizer in the UK said: 'The vaccine is in stock now with a list price of £75 per dose.

'It has been clinically trialled and tested with adolescents alongside their current schedule of vaccines and was designed to provide them with the broadest possible protection.

'The vaccine will bring in a new type of customers for community pharmacies, both in adolescents and the mums.'

'Specifically designed' for young adults

Adolescents have a higher risk of meningitis due to their environment and behaviours, including kissing, smoking, sharing drinks or utensils, being in crowded places and living in close quarters.

Dr Madhava added: ‘Trumenba has been specifically designed to protect adolescents and young adults against Men B,' said Dr Harish Madhava, medical director for Pfizer Vaccines UK.

'Studies included more than 15,000 individuals, 10 years of age and older in 11 clinical trials. These data affirm the vaccine’s positive safety profile, and demonstrate its ability to induce protective serum bactericidal antibody responses to diverse meningococcal serogroup B strains.

‘Trumenba is now available through private healthcare providers and pharmacies; we’ll be working with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and Department of Health to discuss greater access to the vaccine in the future via the National Immunisation Programme.’

Meningitis impact

Approximately 1 in 5 nineteen year olds carry the bacteria that can lead to invasive meningococcal disease. The bacteria are carried in the nose and throat asymptomatically, and can be transmitted to close contacts by respiratory droplets.

For reasons not fully understood, they can then cross the mucosal surfaces of the nose and throat, enter the bloodstream, leading to meningitis, septicaemia and potentially death within 24 hours.

‘Meningococcal infections in England and Wales caused between 800 and 1,000 cases each year between 2007 and 2011. Those affected were largely infants, children and adolescents.

'Despite the availability of effective antibiotic treatment and access to intensive care support, these infections still resulted in a significant number of deaths, with survivors also experiencing considerable long term sequelae including limb amputation and hearing impairment,’ says Dr David Baxter, director of medical education for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.

‘Since 2011, effective vaccines have been introduced that protect against four more virulent strains - A, B, W and Y. As a parent, grandparent and public health physician, I would strongly recommend meningococcal vaccines for all eligible individuals, including infants in the first year of life and school aged adolescents.’