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Coroner demands action from health authorities after death of Lauren Sandell

15 Aug 2018
Coroner demands action from health authorities after death of Lauren Sandell

A report from the Coroner who investigated the tragic death of Lauren Sandell has said that more needs to be done to protect young people. 

The MenACWY vaccination programme was introduced for teenagers and first year university students in 2015 to stop a rapid rise in cases of a deadly type of meningitis and septicaemia, known as meningococcal group W disease (MenW).

Lauren died from MenW after not being able to get the vaccine from her GP practice before moving away to university.

“It does not appear that there is any form of audit to ensure that GP practices have in place systems to identify those children who are not captured by the schools programme and to put in place measures to protect children.”

The Coroner’s report states:

“…there has been ongoing confusion about who is responsible for ensuring that those children who are not (for whatever reason), vaccinated at school, should be vaccinated before attending university…

“It does not appear that there is any form of audit to ensure that GP practices have in place systems to identify those children who are not captured by the schools programme and to put in place measures to protect children.”

Lauren’s mum, Sharon Sandell, bravely took part in a campaign with Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) in 2017 to raise awareness of the lifesaving vaccine.

"It’s a tragedy for a young person to die from a disease that is vaccine preventable." Vinny Smith, MRF. 

Vinny Smith, Chief Executive of MRF said, “We agree with the Coroner that there has been confusion about who is eligible for the MenACWY vaccine and how those eligible should get it. We received many calls to our helpline from people who had not been informed by their GP practice about the vaccine, and many faced difficulties getting it when they asked.

“It’s a tragedy for a young person to die from a disease that is vaccine preventable. With Sharon’s help, MRF has worked to improve communication from public health bodies, local services and GPs. We’ve also campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of MenW meningitis and the MenACWY vaccine which protects vulnerable young people from the deadly infection. An eligibility checker on our website makes it easy for everyone to find out if they can get the vaccine free.

“In summary, the MenACWY vaccine is now routinely offered to children in school at around 14 years of age, but anyone in England over 14 that has not yet had the vaccine can get it if they were born after 1st September 1996. Anyone starting university for the first time aged under 25 can also get it.”

Read the Coroner’s report here.

See Sharon’s story here.

Media contact
Holly Edwards - Communications Manager
Tel: 07875 498 047
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