Relief as Meningitis B vaccine offered to all babies

Jodie Dunk with a picture of her late daughter, Mariah
Jodie Dunk with a picture of her late daughter, Mariah
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A mother who lost her 13-month-old baby to a deadly strain of meningitis said she is ‘over the moon’ a vaccine will be available on the NHS.

All newborn babies across Sussex will be offered a vaccination against meningitis B from September.

It is really good news.

Jodie Dunk

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.

The vaccine will be offered to babies at two months, four months old and a booster at twelve months old.

Jodie Dunk’s 13-month-old baby Mariah died from meningitis B in 2009.

The 24-year-old of Cumbrian Close, Durrington, said: “It is really good news.

“I work in the maternity unit at Worthing Hospital now and it is amazing knowing that all those babies are being born with the chance to have the vaccine.”

Jodie said at the time she didn’t know any of the symptoms of meningitis, other than it can cause a rash. She also said she didn’t even think there were different types of Meningitis – and has since gone on to raise awareness of the disease.

“When they diagnosed her I was really shocked,” Jodie added.

Jodie is now an ambassador for the charity Meningitis Now and has raised £20,000 holding a charity balls and running marathons.

She thanked her husband Simon, her friends, family and Squirrels Nursery for all their support over the last few years.

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.

Chief executive of the charity, Sue Davie, said: “We’re delighted that this milestone in the journey to introduce these vaccines and protect our babies and young people from the devastation meningitis causes has been reached.

“These measures will save thousands of lives and protect people from “Whilst this is good news it does not mean meningitis is beaten.

“Our message is ‘Don’t become complacent about meningitis’ – there are still strains without vaccines and there will still be people who are not protected by these vaccine programmes.

“It’s vital to learn the signs and symptoms, stay vigilant and seek immediate medical help if you suspect the disease.”

According to the charity, the UK has one of the world’s highest Meningitis B rates, killing more of the country’s under-fives than any other infectious disease.

A second vaccine to combat the rise in Men W cases in adolescents will also be given to all 17 and 18-year-olds, who will receive the combined Meningitis ACWY vaccine from August.

MRF Chief Executive Christopher Head said: “We are delighted that MenB is to be introduced as Meningitis Research Foundation has been working for many years on a MenB vaccine supporting vital research into its development and testing, and campaigning for its introduction.

“We are also happy that our Meningococcal Genome Library has played an important part in the decision to introduce a MenACWY vaccine for 17 and 18-year-olds.

“Our research programme will now help with the implementation and evaluation of the MenB vaccination programme and our helpline will be available to answer questions about both the vaccination programmes.”

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