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Scientists back vaccine against 'parent's greatest fear'

The Department of Health is expected to announced that it has reversed a recommendation made last October by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the efficacy of a vaccine against meningitis B.

Read: Meningitis B vaccine 'to be available on the NHS'

The Meningitis Now charity has been campaigning for the vaccine to be available on the NHS in the hope of saving thousands of lives.

Around 200 scientists and researchers backed a petition last month calling the disease "a parent's greatest fear" and calling for a swift reappraisal of the recommendation from JCVI, the body responsible for advising the government on vaccinations.

Meningitis B vaccine 'to be available on the NHS'

A vaccine against deadly disease meningitis B will be made available free on the NHS, the Independent reports.

The Independent is reporting that a vaccine for meningitis B will be available on the NHS. Credit: AP

The Bexsero treatment was licensed in Europe in January but it was not recommended to be adopted by the NHS due to a lack of evidence over effectiveness.

According to the Independent, the Department of Health is set to announce tomorrow that the recommendation has been reversed.


Charity: We must consider the 'burden' of the disease

The founder of Meningitis UK, Steve Dayman, said burdens of the disease need to be taken into account when decisions are made about the Meningitis B vaccine.

Steve lost his 14-month-old son Spencer to meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia in 1982.

He said children like Tommy Brown, who was left severely disabled after contracting Meningitis B, will need "life long support".

He told Daybreak: "We feel it's not just the cost of rolling out the vaccine, we have to consider the burden of the disease as well."

Meningitis B vaccine decision to be made next month

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will meet next month to discuss the cost-effectiveness and safety of the Meningitis B vaccine.

NHS officials said there is "no guarantee that the JCVI will rubber-stamp a positive decision" because the drug is expensive.

The experts are expected to make one of three decisions:

  • To include the jab in the routine NHS vaccination schedule
  • To provide the vaccine on the NHS to high risk groups
  • For the vaccine to only be available to parents who wish to pay for it


Parents: The Government needs to act on vaccine

Parents of a disabled toddler are calling on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to give the green light to the Bexsero vaccine.

We strongly support the campaign as we don't want anyone else to go through what we have - it still impacts on us now and will for life.

It's a horrendous disease that kills or leaves people like our Tommy with awful after-effects.

It's simple - there should be no question - the Government needs to act and put this great vaccine on the NHS immediately. It will save so many lives and stop others from suffering like Tommy, so everyone should rally behind Beat it Now.

– Mr Brown, Tommy Brown's father

It can't help Tommy but it could help other kids.

We tell him he is our brave small soldier returning from war - injuries and all. It makes me cry to see him alert and looking about - then looking at where his hands and legs used to be, as if he is wondering where they are.

It was so painful to see him suffer and go through the operations, but he is remarkable and is superb at adapting - we're lucky to still have our beautiful boy.

– Ms Tuckley, Tommy Brown's mother

Parents call for Meningitis B vaccine for children

The parents of a toddler who was left severely disabled after contracting Meningitis B are calling for a new jab to protect children against the potentially fatal disease.

Julie Tuckley, 37, said no children should have to go through what her son Tommy Brown did.

Tommy Brown was left severely disabled after contracting Meningitis B Credit: Meningitis UK/PA Wire

Tommy was struck down with the infection when he was five months old, and doctors said that he had just a 5% chance of survival.

But after a life saving operation, during which he had both of his legs, his right hand and left-hand fingers amputated, the 19-month-old survived.

Tommy's parents said that the "lifesaving" vaccine, which was approved for use by European health chiefs in January, should become routinely available on the NHS.

Meningitis: What are the symptoms?

The UK has some of the highest rates of bacterial meningitis in Europe, charities have warned.

Around six families a week lose a loved one to meningitis, with as many as one in ten of those infected likely to die.

A new campaign is urging families to be more aware of meningitis symptoms:

Early symptoms

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Fever
  • Vomiting (being sick)
  • Feeling generally unwell

Later symptoms

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or fits
  • Being unable to tolerate bright lights
  • A stiff neck
  • A rapid breathing rate
  • A blotchy red rash that does not fade or change colour when you place a glass against it

Two-thirds of UK parents unaware about vaccinations

Meningitis charities have warned that more than two-thirds of parents in the UK are unaware that current vaccinations do not protect their children from all forms of meningitis.

A new campaign Meningitis: Keep Watching has urged parents and families to Pledge to Protect their children from meningitis by learning more about the disease and ensuring vaccinations are up to date.

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