Doctors, nurses and scientists have joined the call for uptake of the meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine by writing to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.

The letter, led by Dr Simon Nadel, Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care, St Mary’s Hospital, London, has been signed by 118 people determined to see an end to the leading cause of meningitis, which kills and maims more children than any other infection in the UK.

Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) Chief Executive, Christopher Head says: “This is the first time those working on the front-line of the disease have publically joined the MenB debate. These are the doctors, nurses and scientists who witness the devastation of MenB first hand. It’s important their voice is heard.”

Simon Nadel adds: “I feel very strongly about this vaccine. I have worked with children desperately ill from meningitis and septicaemia my entire working life and like everyone fighting this disease, I know just how difficult it is to diagnose and treat. The only way to deal with it effectively is through vaccination. I am not alone in that opinion, many of my colleagues across the UK feel strongly too. That’s why we decided to send a letter to Jeremy Hunt.”

The letter urges the Secretary of State to make the right decision for children in the UK and calls on the Minister to demonstrate his genuine support for child health and innovative vaccine development, by ensuring the deliberations about a freely available MenB vaccine are concluded swiftly and a vaccine against MenB is introduced for infants and adolescents as soon as possible.

MRF is supporting the letter by making it available to read in full.

Health professionals can continue adding their names to the letter by emailing MRF at info@meningitis.org

13 January 2014

Media Contacts: For further information please contact Becky Pierce-Jones on 01454 280416/ beckypj@meningitis.org. Out of hours please call the media mobile on: 07551 968850

 

Notes to Editor: The meningococcal B meningitis and septicaemia (MenB) vaccine licensed by the European Commission in January 2013 is Bexsero® which is produced by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited.

Meningitis Research Foundation has a vision for a world free from meningitis and septicaemia. We have spent over £16.5 million on research projects into the prevention, detection and treatment of the diseases. We also spend around £1m annually supporting those affected, raising public awareness and educating health professionals – some of it available in 22 languages.

Our Freefone helpline – 080 8800 3344 – is operated by trained staff and available 365 days. It provides information to the general public and health professionals and can handle queries in 150 languages. We also have extensive information, research insights and case studies on our website www.meningitis.org

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