Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Appeal over new vaccine for meningitis

THE UK's meningitis charities have joined forces and written to David Cameron. In 2011, Mr Cameron said that the idea of children dying from preventable diseases is unthinkable in this day and age and pledged to save lives in the developing world by ensuring vaccine availability.

Yet UK children are still exposed to a deadly disease, which can kill them in hours or leave them severely disabled. This is Meningitis B, the most common form of meningitis in the UK.

Thankfully, help is in sight. In January, a new Meningitis B vaccine – Bexsero – received a licence from the European Commission. It is the first Meningitis B vaccine licensed in the UK and can save thousands of lives.

Over the next few weeks, the Government is considering whether to introduce this vaccine into the routine childhood immunisation schedule, so it will be given to children through the health service.

We are determined to ensure this lifesaving vaccine is introduced as soon as possible – and the support of Belfast Telegraph readers is crucial.

On average, 1,870 cases of Meningitis B occur in the UK every year. Only when the Meningitis B vaccine is introduced into the immunisation schedule will it change the meningitis landscape forever.

CHRIS HEAD Meningitis Research Foundation

SUE DAVIE Meningitis Trust

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