Meningitis B vaccine starts for Sussex babies

Jodie Dunk
Jodie Dunk
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A Meningitis B vaccine has been introduced today (September 1) for all babies in the UK.

Mother and daughter, Helen Hancorn and Jodie Dunk, from Cumbrian Close, Durrington, are celebrating the roll out of a lifesaving vaccine for meningococcal group B (Meningitis B).

Jodie and her husband Simon lost their 13-month-old daughter, Mariah, to meningitis in December 2009.

Jodie said: “I’m thrilled that we now have this vaccine being used to protect our newborn babies.

“So many lives and so much misery will now be spared.

“I know only too well how cruel this disease can be and I don’t want other local families to go through what we have.”

The Men B vaccine will be given to babies at two, four and 12 months old as part of routine immunisations.

Meningitis B is one of the largest causes of meningitis in the UK and figures from the Meningitis Research Foundation show it leads to death in ten per cent of all cases.

Jodie said Mariah showed little sign of being ill and there was nothing that could have alerted her to anything other than teething troubles.

“You can’t believe a disease like this is out there,” said Helen. “You just don’t believe it will happen to you.”

Meningitis Now and its supporters, who have campaigned for two years to get the ground-breaking MenB vaccine free on the NHS, welcomed the announcement.

Sue Davie, Meningitis Now chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to reach this milestone - it’s a tribute to our supporters’ selfless and tireless efforts,” she said.

“However, we can’t lose sight of the fact that for many the roll out comes too late. We’re here for them for as long as they need us.

“Whilst this is good news – this does not mean meningitis is beaten.

“Our message is don’t become complacent about meningitis – there are still not vaccines for all types.”

Advice from Meningitis Now is learn the symptoms and seek immediate medical help if meningitis is suspected.

The charity has vowed to continue its campaigning to see the Men B vaccine extended to other at risk groups.

For more information visit www.meningitisnow.org

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