National meningitis groups back vaccines petition


Two major meningitis awareness groups have expressed their sadness for the passing of Faye Burdett.

Meningitis Now and the Meningitis Research Foundation are backing a Parliamentary petition calling for older children to have a vaccine, following last year’s campaign to vaccinate all new-borns and babies under one year old.

Two-year-old Faye, of Maidstone, passed away from meningitis B on Sunday, and her death drove nearly 500,000 people to sign a Parliamentary e-petition to give meningitis vaccines to all children up to the age of 11.

Dr Shamez Ladhani, paediatric infectious disease consultant at St George’s University of London, said: “This is a new vaccine and we need to gather as much information as possible from the current programme to make informed decisions about how best to protect those who are most at risk.”

However, James Stuart, visiting Professor at the University of Bristol and World Health Organisation advisor, said: “It may not be the time yet to widen the programme.”

Vinny Smith, Chief Executive of the MRF, said: “There is a tremendous level of public support and MRF shares the passion and aims of this movement. We all want to avoid needless death and disability.

“Patience isn’t easy when you look at pictures of Faye. We are too late for her. That is unacceptable.”

The MRF state they have always held the Government to account, arguing through their scientific and financial analysis of their vaccination programmes.

Sue Davie, chief executive officer of Meningitis Now, said: “Although the introduction of the meningitis B vaccine on the childhood immunisation scheme for young babies was a momentous achievement, saving thousands of lives, there are still so many, like Faye, left unprotected.

“We continue to campaign to see the Men B vaccine rolled out in Scotland, particularly to at risk groups to ensure a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis.”

Meningitis Now is actively supporting the petition to keep awareness of the disease high on the political agenda and in the public profile.

The petition for a meningitis vaccine for older children can be found at:

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