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Support grows for campaign by parents of Bradford meningitis sufferer Kia Gott

Kia was perfectly healthy before falling ill in September

Support is growing for a campaign launched by the parents of a baby girl from Bradford who's had to have all four of her limbs amputated in one of the worst cases of meningitis C doctors have seen.

Kia Gott was admitted to hospital in September after developing an all-over rash. Doctors had initially thought she had a routine viral infection.

She has spent the last three months on the high dependency unit at Leeds General Infirmary and this week family and friends held a party to mark her first birthday.

Had she been born a year earlier, Kia would have been vaccinated against meningitis C at 12 weeks of age. Because cases are so rare, the vaccine was stopped at that age and is now offered at 12 months old.

Her parents, Paul and Vikki, are now campaigning for that policy to be reversed.

Paul said: "You wake up for a minute and hope for a minute that it isn't all true."

Vikki said: "I can't even explain what it's been like. It doesn't feel real."

A petition has been launched in support of the campaign.

You can sign it here.

A spokeswoman for Public Health England said: "Our thoughts are with Kia and her family during this terrible time.

"In the UK, MenC disease is now very rare across all age groups and especially in young babies which is why the independent expert Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the MenC dose at 3 months in infants was discontinued.

"We continue to monitor cases and routinely report them to JCVI who are responsible for reviewing decisions about all childhood immunisation programmes."

But Bradford MP Judith Cummins, who is supporting the petition, said: "The case of my constituent, Kia Gott, is one that is truly heart-breaking and is why I have recently written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, to urge him to seriously consider re-introducing the MenC vaccine for infants when they reach 12 weeks of age.

"Whilst Public Health England have stated that they withdrew the MenC vaccine at 12 weeks due to the success of their MenC vaccination programme, I am sure that we can all agree that just 1 case of this truly devastating disease is one case too many.

"I am in awe of the sheer strength and determination shown by Kia’s parents, Vikki and Paul, to ensure that no other parent or child has to experience the trauma that both they and Kia have and I am urging as many people as possible to sign their petition asking for the re-introduction of the MenC vaccine for babies aged 12 weeks of age.

"I will do all I can to support Kia’s family and hope that the Secretary of State agrees to re-introduce a vaccine that offers protection to our precious children, who at such a young age are at their most vulnerable, against this awful disease."

Sam Casey reports: