Time to end the delay on vaccine against Meningitis B

November 18, 2014 10:11 AM

Meningitis BMP for Cheadle constituency, Mark Hunter is backing a charity's call to end delays and introduce a vaccine to protect babies against Meningitis B as soon as possible.

Mark recently attended an event with leading charity Meningitis Now, to discuss the impact meningitis has in the UK and meet families affected by the disease. The UK has one of the world's highest Meningitis B rates and it kills more of the country's under-fives than any other infectious disease.

Meningitis Now said there have been 1,000 cases of meningococcal group B disease (Men B) since the new vaccine Bexsero received its licence in January 2013 - yet the vaccine still hasn't been given to babies. Of these cases, around 400 people will have died or suffered disabilities, which cost the NHS over a lifetime.

Back in March, the Government said the vaccine would be given free to babies up to age one on the NHS, subject to price negotiations with developer Novartis.

Now Mark Hunter is backing the call to finish negotiations and get the vaccine implemented. Commenting, Mark said:

'Like many local residents I was delighted when it was announced a new vaccine against Meningitis B has received its licence. It is high-time that the Department of Health and Novartis reach agreement so that the NHS can start saving lives by administering this drug.'

Founder of Meningitis Now Steve Dayman MBE, who launched the UK's meningitis movement after losing his baby son Spencer to the disease in 1982, believes "enough is enough".

Steve, who won a Pride of Britain Award for his 32-year crusade, earlier this month, said:

"Negotiations have gone on too long - cut the red tape now, so no more lives are needlessly lost. It's ridiculous that talks are still going on 8 months after we were told the vaccine will be on the NHS.

"The award-winning vaccine is the most monumental leap forward in the meningitis fight - the time is now to bring in this vaccine."

The UK's largest meningitis charity launched Beat it Now! to unite supporters to call for the vaccine. The campaign, which saw a 36,500-name petition delivered to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, now focuses on speeding up negotiations.

Contact:

Meningitis Now on 01453 768000 or communications@meningitisnow.org
Out of hours contact 07960 706661

To join Beat it Now! or for more information visit www.MeningitisNow.org.

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