Marlow couple who lost son to meningitis ask #WheresOurVaccine?

Marlow couple who lost son to meningitis ask #WheresOurVaccine?

12 March 2015

Campaigners Richard and Judi Mills from Marlow have written to their MP to ask for help in ensuring the long overdue introduction of the meningococcal Group B (MenB) vaccine

MenB has for decades been the single largest cause of meningitis in the UK. Young children and adolescents are most at risk. It leads to death in 10% of all cases and to long-term after effects in a further 36%. Department of Health (DH) surveys have consistently shown that it is the most feared of all illnesses by the parents of young children in our country and each year it costs the NHS millions of pounds in medical litigation.

A vaccine against MenB which was recommended by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on 21 March 2014 to be routinely given to children in the UK, but almost a year on there are no signs that the vaccine will become part of childhood immunisation programme anytime soon. Meanwhile cases of MenB continue to occur and babies, children and adults are dying and being badly disabled as a result.
Charity Meningitis Research Foundation has launched the #WheresOurVaccine campaign to bring pressure to bear to introduce the life-saving vaccine as soon as possible.

Richard said: “I am supporting the #WheresOurVaccine campaign because our son Harry died of Group B Meningococal meningitis and septicaemia in 2007 when he was 11 years old. Judi can still remember taking him to our GP’s surgery for his meningitis jab when he was just a toddler and left feeling sure Harry was safe but unaware there were different strains. Almost a decade later another nurse tried to comfort me as my son lay on a hospital bed in intensive care dying of meningitis B. Harry’s life was extinguished in a single day by this terrible disease, because it is so difficult to detect we believe a vaccine is the only way to fight and eradicate this strain of meningitis.”
Richard and Judi have written to local MP, Dominic Grieve, to ask him to ask the Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, why the introduction of vaccine is taking so long. Richard has also written to prospective parliamentary candidates in the constituency to find out their views on MenB implementation before the forthcoming general election.

Richard also comments: “Anyone who agrees with me that this life-saving vaccine is taking too long to implement can make their feelings known by signing the online #WheresOurVaccine petition at www.meningitis.org/wheres-our-vaccine

Chris Head, Chief Executive of the Meningitis Research Foundation said: “We appreciate that the JCVI stated that the vaccine recommendation was subject to a cost-effective price being agreed between the vaccine manufacturer and the DH, but these price negotiations have been ongoing since July 2014 and have stalled. The cost effective price range for this vaccine was published in October last year with an upper limit only just over £20 - a substantial saving on the official NHS list price of £75. As both the manufacturer and the government are negotiating within this published cost effective range, we cannot see why an accommodation cannot be reached.”

“We also realise there are many pressures on NHS budgets but this Government claims to want people to be fit for life throughout their life. Surely the answer is to protect future generations by vaccinating to prevent disease? We’d also like to see a MenB vaccine for older children introduced and a programme for adolescents. A number of deaths at university at the beginning of the academic term demonstrate meningitis is still a very real threat to this age group.”

“We hope that by Richard and Judi writing to their MP Dominic Grieve we can find out why the vaccine still hasn’t been implemented and when it will be. We will not stop until every child is protected from this disease.”


Media contacts: To speak to Richard and Judi Mills please contact Becky Pierce-Jones on 01454 280416 / becky.pj@meningitis.org or Adrian Robson on 01454 280417 / adrianr@meningitis.org


Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam and I’m MRF's PR Manager.

If you want to know more about this story call me on 0333 405 626251, out of office hours on 07875 498047 or email me

samanthaw@meningitis.org