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'This inoculation will spare families trauma of deaths'

Meningococcal B disease (MenB) has for decades been the single largest cause of meningitis in the UK.

It has been at the top of this charity's agenda for decades and we are delighted that vaccinating all babies against this devastating disease is now within sight, cementing the UK's position as a world leader in meningitis prevention.

Young children and adolescents are most at risk. It leads to death in 10% of all cases and to long-term after-effects in a further 36%.

Department of Health surveys have consistently shown that meningitis is the illness parents of young children in our country fear the most.

Each year it costs the NHS millions of pounds in medical litigation, and the long-term costs to government of a severe case can exceed £3 million.

When this vaccine is finally introduced it will save lives and spare countless families the trauma of seeing a loved one die or become seriously disabled because of MenB.

The bitter experience of those who have been personally affected has been vital in our campaigning for this vaccine, demonstrating the compelling case for prevention.

We pay tribute to them and pledge to continue supporting them.

We do, however, remain concerned that there is no recommendation for teenagers, the second highest 'at risk' group, to be routinely vaccinated.

Vaccinating this age group has the potential to protect the wider population because they are key to transmission and spread.

  • Diane McConnell is the Northern Ireland Manager and Deputy CEO of the Meningitis Research Foundation

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