Ritchie Calls For Meningitis B Vaccine To Be Extended To Young People

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie, in speaking about the Meningitis B vaccination for younger people, said:  “Prevention of Meningitis B will ensure lives are saved. Today, Meningitis B is the leading infectious killer of babies and young children.

dn_screen“While the vaccine is now offered to babies as part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination programme, at two months, followed by a second dose at four months, and a booster at 12 months, no provision has been made for children who miss out on these immunisations because of their age.

“Meningitis B strikes fast, without warning leaving no time for mistakes in diagnosis. The disease has a high fatality rate and in particular affects young children. It can lead to severe brain damage, amputation and in some cases, death. Those who do survive can also suffer epilepsy.

“All children up to the age of 11 should be vaccinated.

“I have made urgent representations to the Minister for Health in Westminster and the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland. The government needs to urgently address the unfairness of the cost effectiveness framework for preventing severe childhood illness and ensure vaccinations are included in the framework.

“Furthermore, the Government must prioritise the effective protection of the most vulnerable in the short term by undertaking a one off catch up for children under five.

“No parent should lose their child to this devastating disease when vaccination is available.”