North West Ambassadors target Prime Minister

North West Ambassadors target Prime Minister

08 August 2013

Congratulations to our North West England Ambassadors led by the Crockatt Family from Leyland who got a letter about their MenB fears to Prime Minister, David Cameron today. He was visiting Wigan when they seized the opportunity and feedback is he read the letter and pledged to “make it a priority”.

This is what was presented to him:

Dear Prime Minister,

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to our region and hope that you have a successful visit. Whilst you are here, it would be remiss of us to not take the opportunity to express our concerns regarding the recent decision taken by the JCVI (Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation) to defer the implementation of the licensed MenB (meningococcal B) vaccine, especially as we only have until September 3 for feedback..

We are all honoured to be North West regional ambassadors of Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) – a charity which has dedicated nearly 25 years to fighting this disease. We represent many people affected by meningitis and septicaemia; some of us have lost children to the disease and others, themselves or their children, have been left severely disabled after a healthy start in life.

Our mutual fear? The inevitability that more children will be at risk of death or serious disability without the introduction of this vaccine.

As a group, we have all been affected by this horrific disease. We are confident that you will appreciate and understand the emotional anxiety, stress, and in some cases financial hardship that extreme disability and illness can bring upon a family. MenB is often misdiagnosed at the outset because it is mistaken for a much less serious illness. This results in a significant number of children being treated late and left with major disabilities and loss of life. We believe the only way to safeguard future generations from the terrors of MenB is to vaccinate all children.

It was shocking to learn that it is deemed more cost effective to support survivors throughout their lifetime, despite the seemingly obvious societal, medical and state costs, as well as the obvious cost to the individual, both financial and in quality of life. Has the JCVI taken all of these factors into consideration during their cost benefit analyses? Their initial findings suggest not.

Surely prevention of this disease and its consequences, by implementation of a vaccination programme, will allow our children, and their children, to be able to live a healthy and productive life and fully contribute to society. Families will also be spared the anguish and trauma of losing their child or suffering the financial penalties of caring for a severely disabled child.

The recent introduction of the Rotovirus and Flu virus vaccines into the child immunisation programme demonstrates your commitment and belief that children should not be dying here in the UK or the third world from preventable diseases. With this precedent therefore, contraction of MenB cannot be an acceptable risk for children not only in this region but across the whole of the UK.

We willingly give up our time and energy to promote and raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of this devastating disease by sharing our personal stories. We will continue to actively fundraise in support of the scientists and medical professionals looking for a solution. Last year we canvassed for signatures and MRF members presented the signed ‘Counting the Cost’ petition in support of a MenB vaccine to No.10 Downing Street.

Your support in our campaign to change the Governmental criteria for assessing the value of vaccination for meningitis and septicaemia to include ALL costs, with the subsequent introduction of the MenB vaccine into the Childhood Immunisation Programme, could not only save thousands of lives but also reduce the cost to the NHS both in Primary and Secondary care, as well as reducing the far-reaching implications to society.

We thank you for taking the time to read our letter and look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely
Karen and Nick Crockatt
Kathleen Hawkins
Caroline Holahan
Martyn Preston
Rachael and Neale Vickery
Sue Waring

(North West Regional Ambassadors, Meningitis Research Foundation)

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Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam and I’m MRF's PR Manager.

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