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Charities welcome deal over meningitis B vaccine

The vaccine will be added to the national childhood immunisation scheme. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA

Charities have welcomed the news that the government has reached an agreement with drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to provide all babies in the UK with a potentially life-saving vaccine against meningitis B.

Sue Davie, chief executive of Meningitis Now, said: "To know that babies will be protected against MenB is fantastic and another great step forward in our fight against meningitis.

"Families for whom this comes too late, and for whom we will always be here to support, have campaigned tirelessly and selflessly with us to make sure no other families suffer as they have."

Chris Head, chief executive of Meningitis Research Foundation, said: "When this vaccine is introduced it will save lives and spare countless families the trauma of seeing a loved one die or become seriously disabled because of MenB."

GSK said the deal represented "fair value" for the health service.

Nikki Yates, general manager of GSK in the UK said: "As a British company, we are delighted to have concluded an agreement with the Government just three weeks after we acquired the vaccine, which offers fair value to the NHS and at the same time is sustainable for GSK."

Government reaches deal on meningitis B vaccine

All babies in the UK will soon have a potentially life-saving vaccine against meningitis B. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

The government has reached a deal with drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to provide all babies in the UK with a potentially life-saving vaccine against meningitis B, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

Mr Hunt said Britain would now become the first country in the world with a nationwide meningitis B vaccination programme.

The deal follows recent controversy over the Bexsero MenB vaccine after it emerged it was still not available to children despite being recommended by health advisers a year ago.

The drug will now be added to the national childhood immunisation scheme, meaning babies will receive the first vaccine at two months old, followed by two further doses.

Mr Hunt said: "I am very proud that we will be the first country in the world to have a nationwide MenB vaccination programme, helping to protect our children from a devastating disease.

"MenB can be severely disabling or fatal, especially in babies and young children. Losing a child is every parent's worst nightmare so I am delighted that we have reached an agreement with GSK to supply the vaccine."

Met Office: Easter weather set to be wet and windy

The Easter break could become a wet and windy washout in Britain. Credit: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

The Easter break could become a wet and windy washout in Britain - and there might even be some snow according to the Met Office.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for wind around the Bristol Channel for today amid fears winds of up to 65mph will strike causing disruption to road travel.

Heavy rain is predicted in Wales and the South West today and is expected to sweep east across Britain, while the north of England and Scotland will see "blustery showers".

Wintry showers bringing sleet and snow could affect higher parts of the North today and tomorrow.

The next few days are going to be windy throughout the UK. We have a band of heavy rain moving in from Wales and the South West and moving across England.

We are expecting quite windy, breezy conditions. There will be a few showers turning wintry on Sunday but it is more likely overnight into Monday.

– Met Office forecaster Nicola Willis

Wind and showers are predicted to last most of the week and temperatures will hover a few degrees below the average.

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Boko Haram kill 39 people during Nigerian election

Nigeria have extended the voting period for their current elections until Sunday. Credit: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

Boko Haram extremists have killed 39 people, including a legislator, in north-eastern Nigeria, disrupting the country's presidential election, officials said.

All the attacks took place in the north east where the military announced it had cleared the Islamic extremists from all major centres.

Residents of the town of Miringa said Boko Haram militants torched people's homes and then shot them as they tried to escape. Twenty five people reportedly died.

Witnesses and officials said another 14 people, including Gombe state legislator Umaru Ali, died later today in attacks on the towns of Biri and Dukku.

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