Tommy to deliver vaccine petition to Jeremy Hunt
LATER TODAY, two-year-old Tommy Brown, who was left severely disabled after contracting meningitis, will deliver a petition urging Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt to bring in a new Meningitis B vaccine.
Brave toddler Tommy, from Walsall in the West Midlands, and his parents Julie Tuckley and Dean Brown, are delivering the petition on our behalf to the Department of Health.
Tommy, who is the face of our Beat it Now! campaign, was struck down by the disease when he was just five months old and doctors said he had a 5% chance of survival.
He had a life-saving operation, where doctors amputated both of his legs, his right hand and the fingers on his left hand.
His father, Dean Brown said: “Meningitis is a horrendous disease that kills or leaves people like our Tommy with awful after-effects.
“We don’t want any other parents or children to go through what we’ve had to endure. The Government needs to act and put this vaccine on the NHS for free immediately because it will save so many lives and stop others from suffering like Tommy.”
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 are babies and children. It accounts for 50% of the total cases of bacterial meningitis in the UK.
New mum Petra Stunt (nÃ©e Ecclestone), an ambassador for the Meningitis Now charity since she contracted meningitis in 2005, has sent a message of support.
Petra said: “My own experience of meningitis as a teenager was life-changing and I will do everything I can to protect my daughter against this devastating disease.
“I am in a fortunate position but the majority of people can’t afford to spend hundreds of pounds vaccinating their children.
“Parents shouldn’t have to make that choice, so I’m backing the campaign to give all babies this vaccine on the NHS.”
Meningitis Now chief executive Sue Davie and executive founder Steve Dayman, whose son died of Meningitis B 31 years ago, will also be at Richmond House to deliver the petition to Jeremy Hunt’s office.
Mr Dayman said: “Today is about sending a clear message to the Government – put babies and children’s lives before cost and introduce the Meningitis B vaccine now.”
Lead clinicians are also showing their support, including paediatricians Professor Simon Nadel and Professor Simon Kroll, from St Marys, London, who recently wrote an open letter to The Times calling for the vaccine; and GP Dr Rob Hicks, a committed supporter of the vaccine.
Also joining Tommy and his family will be Brian and Julie Backhouse, from Rainham in Essex, who lost their daughter, Lili, to meningitis B on 9 January 2011 at the age of 23 months.
Harriet Marsh, and her four-month old daughter Kitty are also attending, along with Emma and Jon Spiers with their baby Ellie.
These supporters are meeting with MPs who are backing the campaign to ask for their support over the coming weeks.
The Meningitis B vaccine was licensed for use in the UK in January 2013 and has been considered twice by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), in June then October 2013.
After seeking more evidence on cost-effectiveness, the JCVI considered the vaccine in its February 2014 meeting.
For more information, contact Meningitis Now.