TWO mums whose lives were ‘turned upside down’ when their daughters contracted meningitis B are hoping the government will agree to fund routine vaccinations against the disease.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is set to make a decision in the next few weeks, having received a petition carrying more than 36,000 names.
Blackburn mum Toni Burford, whose daughter Danielle was killed by the disease in 2009, collected 750 of those names on behalf of the Meningitis Now charity.
The 38-year-old, from Mill Hill, said: “It was the anniversary (of Danielle’s death) on March 4 and we are just waiting for the decison on the vaccine now. But we’re really hopeful that he’ll give thego-ahead.
They are concerned about the money side of it but we think it’s better all round if they can prevent children getting meningitis B in the first place, rather than having to treat people once they’ve got it, as often it’s too late.”
The campaign for the vaccine has also been supported by Laura Bell, from Burnley, whose daughter Jessica-Fay nearly died in 2007.
The St John’s Primary School pupil was struck down with the deadly bug aged just 15 months.
And she had to have a life-saving blood transfusion in intensive care carried out at Pendlebury Children’s Hospital in Manchester.
Laura, 26, said: “I know what it’s like to have your life turned upside down by this disease and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.
“This vaccine could save two children’s lives every week and that’s why I am supporting Meningitis Now.
“And I am urging the government to save lives and bring in the vaccine now.”
The UK has one of the highest meningitis B incidence rates in the world, affecting an average of 1,870 people each year over the last 10 years, most of whom were babies and children.
Meningitis Now has been campaigning to bing in the B vaccine since January last year and has the support of 134 MPs, including Jack Straw.
The charity’s founder, Steve Dayman, said: “We are sending a clear message to the government – put babies and children’s lives before cost and make the decision to introduce the meningitis B vaccine now.”