The latest report published by the Public Health England (PHE) revealed that the number of cases of meningitis and septicaemia in UK infants has reduced after new vaccine Bexsero was introduced last year.
Bexsero is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Figures show that the number of meningitis and septicaemia cases caused by meningococcal group B (MenB) infection in eligible infants dropped by 50% during the past year.
PHE data shows that the number of MenB cases in infants less than one year old, which is the age group most likely to be affected by MenB, dropped by 42%.
PHE immunisation head Dr Mary Ramsay said: “MenB is a rare, but terrible disease. It’s cut many lives short and can leave children maimed for life, causing devastation for their families. Now we know this vaccine can and will save lives and prevent lifelong disability.
“The programme is still in its early days, so we will be monitoring the longer-term impact of the vaccine through our surveillance programme.
"But the benefit of the vaccine is clear. We hope countries around the world looking at these results will consider introducing similar vaccination programmes, hopefully saving the lives of many, many children.”
Meningitis is an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, and septicaemia or blood poisoning are both potentially fatal illnesses.
About one in ten of those who survive the disease are left with severe long-term problems such as limb loss, and one in three have less serious problems including deafness and learning difficulties.
Image: Bexsero vaccine is offered three jabs against MenB. Photo: © Crown copyright.