Meningitis survivor Diana Man asks #WhereOurVaccine
16 March 2015
Diana Man from Uckfield has written to her MP to ask for their 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.
Diana Man said: “I am supporting the #WheresOurVaccine campaign because I contracted meningococcal septicaemia at the age of 25 in November 2007 and spent over 6 months in hospital. I have had both lower legs amputated and all the fingers on my right hand, have epilepsy and been through multiple skin grafts. But meningitis does not only affect the victim of the disease, it affects the people around them too. My mum says she will forever feel guilty for not picking up on what was wrong sooner.”
Diana has written to local MP, Charles Hendry, to ask him to ask the Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, why the introduction of vaccine is taking so long. She has also written to prospective parliamentary candidates in the constituency to find out their views on MenB implementation before the forthcoming general election.
Diana 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 Diana writing to her MP Charles Hendry 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.”More about MenBJoin the #WheresOurVaccine campaignMedia contact:
To speak to Diana Man please contact Becky Pierce-Jones on 01454 280416 / email@example.com
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