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Meningitis charity calls for vaccine approval

A health worker prepares a meningitis vaccination Credit: PA

A meningitis charity is warning that thousands of families could suffer if a life-saving vaccine is not implemented by the Government.

It comes as the Meningitis Research Foundation launches its annual awareness week across the country.

Campaigners from south-west Scotland and Cumbria have joined in the fight to try and have a meningitis B vaccine approved for use in the UK.

Michael Pattie, from Dumfries, lost his 13-year-old son David to meningitis in 1999 Credit: ITV News Border

Full report: Campaigners fight for approval of meningitis B vaccine

Families of meningitis victims are angry that a potentially life-saving vaccine may not be available because of the cost to the NHS.

The vaccine for the meningitis B strain has been approved at European level, but so far its been classed as "not cost effective" in the UK.

Campaigners from Cumbria and south-west Scotland have put their case forward for the vaccine to be introduced as soon as possible.

Matthew Taylor reports:

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Dumfries fundraiser sickened by vaccine refusal

Michael Pattie, from Dumfries, lost his 13-year-old son David to meningitis C in1999.

He has been campaigning tirelessly ever since and has been fundraising for Meningitis Research.

Mr Pattie started a series of “Strictly” annual community talent showcases in 2006, which have raised more than £250,000 for the charity to date.

He was named Scottish Charity Champion for 2013 and is frustrated that despite a vaccine being found, it is not being made available:

Anger over meningitis B vaccine refusal

Michael Pattie, from Dumfries, lost his 13-year-old son David to meningitis in 1999 Credit: ITV News Border

Campaigners from south-west Scotland and Cumbria have joined in the fight to try and have a meningitis B vaccine approved for use in the UK.

Over 30,000 people have signed petitions for its introduction into the Childhood Immunisation Schedule, but so far the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) refused to give approval to the drug because it is not cost effective.

Schmallenberg vaccine ready for summer

A vaccine to protect animals against the Schmallenberg Virus (SBV), has been developed and UK farmers will be the first to access it by summer.

The vaccine helps to protect sheep and cattle against birth defects cause by the virus.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has issued a license to provide the new "Bovilis SBV' vaccine.

"This is the culmination of intensive activity on the part of MSD Animal Health and the VMD to make a safe and effective vaccine available to tackle Schmallenberg.

"Without in any way compromising the scientific rigour of our assessment process, we accelerated our assessment so that a vaccine will be available this summer.

"This means it will be possible to vaccinate sheep and cattle before most of them become pregnant. This is important as it is during pregnancy when exposure to the virus can cause damage to the foetus.

"Voluntary reports from our farmers show that 1,753 farms throughout Great Britain have now tested positive for the virus."

– Pete Borriello, CEO, Veterinary Medicines Directorate

Cattle from a herd on the outskirts of Dumfries were confirmed to have contracted SBV last month.

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