BBC Pimps for Novartis

The BBC is at it again, pimping for vaccine manufacturers. As usual an “impartial” and caring charity is presented fronting the idea that we all need to be taking the Meningitis B vaccine at 2 months old upwards. The BBC also forgot to add any special interest disclaimers when interviewing the charity which, as usual, with a modicum of investigation (about a half hour) shows clear signs of conflict of interest.

Additionally, the old marketing psychology routine of artificial scarcity was used to stampede the public into demanding the vaccine be made available. On the face of it, this is just another corporate PR campaign to sell vaccines.

The organisation fronting this push is Meningitis Now. This organisation cites in its report and financial statements

“We are grateful to all of our corporate partners who have raised funds or provided “in-kind” support through the year including Caroline Gardner Cards, First Great Western, Just:: Health PR, Novartis Vaccines, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Connexus, Irwin Mitchell LLP, Foot Anstey LLP, Michelmores LLP, Pannone LLP, Renishaw plc, HSBC Bank plc, Galliford Try plc, Bristows LLP, A Shade Greener Ltd and Brightside Group plc.

Looking deeper into the report we find the following funding

  • Funding from GSK for our work with adolescents (£20,000)
  • Funding from Novartis Vaccines towards Volunteer Programme (£25,000), Partnership Programme (£10,000), postmerger costs (£17,972), Conference (£4,000), Awareness and Education (£22,500)
  • Funding from Pfizer towards awareness and education (£5,000)

That is £80,000 in funding from Novartis alone, who also happen to be the Vaccine manufacturer and marketer.

The EU Community register document for Bexsero (The vaccine name) quote some of the following which is worth reading.

“Bexsero is not expected to provide protection against all circulating meningococcal group B strains”

Adverse reactions

Very common: (≥1/10)

Common: (≥1/100 to <1/10)

Uncommon: (≥1/1,000 to <1/100)

Rare: (≥1/10,000 to <1/1,000)

Very rare: (<1/10,000)

Within each frequency grouping, undesirable effects are presented in order of decreasing seriousness.


Infants and children (up to 10 years of age)

Metabolism and nutrition disorders

Very common: eating disorders

Nervous system disorders

Very common: sleepiness, unusual crying

Uncommon: seizures (including febrile seizures)

Vascular disorders

Uncommon: pallor (rare after booster)

Rare: Kawasaki syndrome

Gastrointestinal disorders

Very common: diarrhoea, vomiting (uncommon after booster)

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders

Very common: rash (uncommon after booster)

Uncommon: eczema, urticaria

General disorders and administration site conditions

Very common: fever (≥38°C), injection site tenderness (including severe injection site tenderness

defined as crying when injected limb is moved), injection site erythema, injection site swelling,

injection site induration, irritability

Uncommon: fever (≥40°C)


Adolescents (from 11 years of age) and adults

Nervous system disorders

Very common: headache

Gastrointestinal disorders

Very common: nausea

General disorders and administration site conditions

Very common: injection site pain (including severe injection site pain defined as unable to perform

normal daily activity), injection site swelling, injection site induration, injection site erythema, malaise

Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders

Very common: myalgia, arthralgia


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