Meningitis Vaccine Blamed For Rise In Deaths
A meningitis C vaccine was developed in the 1970’s, but scientists found that it caused an increase in the number of meningitis B cases so they abandoned the vaccine until an effective B vaccine could also be produced.
However, in 1999 a new meningitis C vaccine was introduced into the childhood vaccination programme despite the fact that we still don’t have a meningitis B vaccine and they knew from prior research that a possible effect of the vaccine would be to increase other strains of meningitis.
The bacteria in the vaccine is killed, but studies of various vaccines have shown that killed bacteria and viruses are capable of mutating and can change from C strain to B strain, so if a person is vaccinated against C strain meningitis and then comes down with B strain afterwards, it may have been caused by his vaccine.
For instance, as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 342:219-220, January 20, 2000, number 3), a 16 year old girl died of meningitis B after contracting meningitis from her boyfriend’s meningitis C vaccine. It mutated into B strain and killed her:
Rapid Serogroup Switching in Neisseria meningitidis
“To the Editor: In Neisseria meningitidis, the horizontal transfer of siaD genes encoding polysialyltransferases has been shown to result in capsular serogroup switching in vitro.1 The presence of closely related clones with different serogroups suggests that serogroup switching also occurs in vivo.2,3 However, the time course of the transfer of siaD genes in humans is unknown.
We describe a case of unexpectedly rapid serogroup switching in virulent meningococci. A 16-year-old girl died of fulminant serogroup B meningococcal septicemia. Examination of nasopharyngeal swabs from close contacts revealed massive colonization with serogroup C meningococci in the girl’s boyfriend.”
Meningitis C Vaccine Wears off – only 25% of Teens show Antibodies
The Oxford team which did the work says its findings fuel calls for a booster jab to be offered to adolescents.
The study of 250 children aged six to 12, presented to a European conference, looked at immunity seven years after the jab was given.
UK experts agreed a booster may be needed in the future.
The research was carried out by the Oxford Vaccine Group at Oxford University.
By giving each teenager a booster dose of meningococcal vaccine as they are entering adolescence, we can ensure that they are protected when they most need it
Dr Jamie Findlow, Health Protection Agency
The group tested the children, who had all been vaccinated against meningitis C, for levels of antibodies against the bacteria in their bloodstream.
It was found that just 25% of the children had sufficiently high levels of the antibodies to give them protection against the disease.
Source: BBC News, 7 May 2010