GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has entered an agreement with the UK’s Department of Health to provide meningitis B vaccine for babies in the country.
Meningitis B is a bacterial infection that mostly affects children under the age of one and is common in children under five years of age. It will also affect teenagers aged between 15 and 19 years.
The vaccine will be provided through the NHS immunisation schedule, which was acquired from Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis in March this year.
The Bexsero vaccine against meningitis B was acquired from Novartis under the $20bn three-part transaction, excluding flu vaccines.
GSK said that the deal will provide a fair value for the NHS and allows a reasonable return for the company to continue to invest in creating new treatments and vaccines.
The vaccine will be first given to the babies at two months old under the national childhood immunisation scheme, and later will receive two doses.
UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that Britain would be the first country across the world to introduce a nationwide meningitis B vaccination programme.
He further added that although it was disappointing for taking long time to sign the deal, but it was important to agree a price that was cost-effective for the NHS.
Novartis earlier had differences with the UK Government over the price of the vaccine, after the government received an advice from independent experts that the vaccine should be given to all babies over two months old through the National Health Service.
Image: Histopathology of bacterial meningitis. Photo: courtesy of Marvin 101.