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Colne mum calls for meningitis jab
THE MOTHER of a toddler who was struck down by meningitis at five months old is calling for a new vaccine to be offered for free on the NHS.
Julie Jenkins, 31, from Chatham Street, Colne, believes that the vaccine could help prevent children like her son Louie, who suffered the devastating effects of the illness.
Bexsero is the first jab to protect against meningitis B, but it is available only privately.
The Government’s advisory committee on vaccination has so far refused to endorse it for routine use, saying it is not cost effective.
It costs £75 a dose and children require four each, costing between £400 and £500 in total.
Julie’s son Louie was struck down by the disease when he was five months old and because of the horrific effects of illness, needed to have both legs amputated from below the knee when he was just six months old.
He also had all his fingers on his left hand and the finger tips on his right hand amputated after his battle with meningitis early in 2012.
Louie now has to wear prosthetic legs which have to be changed every time he goes up a shoe size. The family have also had to move house to accommodate Louie’s needs.
Julie says that the cost of the effects of the illness outweigh the money saved by not introducing a vaccination programme. She said: “It seems bizzare to me that the government can say that it isn’t cost effective.
“The amount of money that we now cost the government... if you added all that up, surely it would be more beneficial for the government to give this vaccine. I have also not been able to go back to work as I am Louie’s carer and need to be available for all his appointments.”
Meningitis Research Trust has estimated that the cost of the government supporting Louie for his lifetime will total £3 million.
The UK has one of the highest Meningitis B incidence rates in the world, affecting an average of 1,870 people each year.
It kills more children under five than any other infectious disease, while teenagers are also more at risk.
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