Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Grandmother's anger over meningitis vaccination decision
A GRANDMOTHER who lost a treasured grandson to meningococcal septicaemia has spoken of her “bitter disappointment” at likely delays in the introduction of a new meningitis vaccine.
Hilary Nightingale said she feared any delay in giving vaccinations against the Meningococcal B infection (Men B) could cost lives and leave people with a lifetime of after-effects.
She was speaking in the run-up to Meningitis Awareness Week next week and in the wake of a decision in July by the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the UK Government on vaccines, not to recommend the vaccine Bexsero, citing cost effectiveness and a drop in cases.
Mrs Nightingale said she and her family still terribly miss her grandson, Louis White, from the Lawrence Street area, who would have been 13 next Wednesday but who died in 2002, aged 22 months.
She said: “He had not been his usual self one afternoon. He was very sleepy and unusually hot, although his hands and feet felt very cold. His mum, Karrin, laid him down for a little nap when he started to vomit.”
She said Karrin took him to her GP, who suspected meningitis and called the hospital to get him admitted. He was monitored and then at 5.30am, Karrin noticed a little red spot behind his ear and then a “dreadful” rash came out all over his body right in front of her eyes.
Treatment started immediately but he had one of the worst types of the illness and medics were unable to save him.
“It is so important for everyone to know about this devastating disease and just how quickly it can start,” she said.
Chris Head, chief executive of the Meningitis Research Foundation, said it was extremely disappointed by the vaccination decision and was campaigning hard for a change of heart.
Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said: “This is a very difficult situation where we have a new vaccine against meningitis B but we lack important evidence.
“We need to know how well it will protect, how long it will protect and if it will stop the bacteria from spreading from person to person.
“We need to work with the scientific community and the manufacturer to find ways to resolve these uncertainties so that we can come to a clear answer.”
Comments are closed on this article.