Vaccination against meningitis becomes compulsory: what does this change?

Vaccination against meningitis becomes compulsory what does this change

Frédéric Valletoux, the Minister Delegate for Health and Prevention, announced this Friday April 26 that vaccination against meningitis would become compulsory for infants on January 1, 2025.

A new vaccine for infants. Vaccination against meningococcal infections for newborns is preparing to become compulsory from 2025, announced Frédéric Valletoux, the Minister Delegate in charge of Health and Prevention, Friday April 26. This announcement, made with Public Health France, took place on the occasion of European Vaccination Week which takes place from April 22 to 28. The obligation will come into force from January 1 “after the publication of the regulatory texts”, specified the minister.

This decision by the health authorities was expected and follows the recommendations of the High Authority of Health which defended the expansion of immunization of very young children against several bacterial strains. In particular meningococci, these bacteria which are transmitted through close contact, most often through saliva or droplets. Among the serious illnesses that these bacteria can cause is meningitis, but also septicemia.

A vaccination already strongly recommended

Until now, only vaccination against meningococci strain C has been compulsory in infants since 2018. But from January 1, 2025, children will also have to be vaccinated against other strains of meningococci: A, B, W and Y. Newborns will need to receive two doses of a so-called “tetravalent” vaccine targeting strains A, C, W and Y, one at six months, then the other at twelve months.

Concerning meningococcal strain B, a vaccination of three doses at three months then at five and twelve months must have been observed. This vaccination has previously been strongly recommended since June 2022 by health authorities for infants. And the share of infants vaccinated, even without obligation, has already increased in one year, going from almost 50% to 75%. However, compulsory vaccination should make it possible to increase this figure to 95%.

In France, since January 1, 2018, 11 vaccines are compulsory for children aged 0 to 2 years. These are whooping cough, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), Haemophilus influenzae type B, hepatitis B, pneumococcus, meningococcus C, diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis. .

Why make vaccination compulsory?

It was the resurgence of meningococcal infections affecting children that pushed the High Authority of Health, then other health authorities, to make the vaccine compulsory. “We are seeing an increase in invasive meningococcal infections among babies, particularly with strains other than C,” indicated Brigitte Virey, president of the National Union of French Pediatricians, reports The Parisian. The HAS underlined in its opinion that “if the implementation of barrier measures during the Covid-19 crisis allowed a notable drop in these infections, the latest data show a resumption of the circulation of meningococci in France”. And added: “Serogroups W and Y have progressed significantly, particularly among infants and young people.”