Friday 18 April 2014

Call for no delay on meningitis B vaccine

News that a vaccine to prevent meningitis B is on the way has been hailed as a big leap forward in fighting one of the most deadly forms of the disease affecting 170 Irish people, most of whom are children, annually.

The Meningitis Research Foundation said the Department of Health should not delay in putting the vaccine through the different stages and to speed up its use on children once it is licensed.

"We anticipate 73pc of meningitis B strains will be prevented by the new vaccine.

"The last major vaccine against meningitis – the pneumococcal vaccine – took seven years to be introduced after licensure, so we urge the Government to introduce the meningitis B vaccine into the childhood immunisation schedule as soon as possible," said a spokesman for the charity.

"The sad facts are that one in 10 who contract the disease will die and one in three survivors are left with lifelong disabilities, the most serious of which could accrue considerable costs to the Government in specialist treatment and support."

He said that any delay would have a devastating effect on lives, and that we must not allow our children to die from a disease if it could be prevented.

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