Vaccine comes too late for Innsworth family
PARENTS of tragic eight-year-old David Meek who died of Meningitis say making a vaccine legal 20 years after his death has come too late for them.
The Innsworth family's heartache of losing their son in 1993 came flooding back on Tuesday when the European Commission announced it would be granting a licence for the Bexsero vaccine.
A path is now clear to introduce it into the UK's Childhood Immunisation Programme.
David's mum, Christine, 56, had mixed feelings over the news.
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"The ruling is like a double edged sword for us," she said. "Although it is brilliant news, it is sad a vaccine was not around to help David. We did not think yesterday's decision would affect us as strongly as it did.
"Any parent should not think twice about giving their child this vaccine now."
David died just 10 hours after developing the disease. His sister Melissa, now 17, trialled the vaccine as an eight-week old baby and has shown no side affects.
"We couldn't risk going through with Melissa what we went through with David," added Christine.
"Meningitis can strike twice in the same family and we couldn't take the risk.
"It has a devastating effect of people's lives, even if people survive it can still have life-changing affects.
"We need to stop children being taken before their time by Meningitis and this will help that. Age is no barrier, it can strike anyone at any time.
"Hopefully the Government will now put money into the vaccine as most of the research has been paid for by charities up until now, it is the least they can do.
"Of course it only makes us wonder if David could have been saved if the vaccine had been around when he was a child."
Meningitis is a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain caused by a virus or bacteria.
It infects about 2,500 people annually in Britain and causes around 200 deaths, mostly among children and teenagers.
Sue Davie, Chief Executive of the Meningitis Trust in Stroud, warned against complacency.
"It's wonderful news, but licensing alone will not save lives," she said.
"We should not lose sight of the fact even after this vaccine is introduced, Meningitis will always be with us.
"As a support-focussed organisation, our commitment is that we will always be here for those individuals and families already affected and those that will sadly continue to contract the disease.
"Whatever the future holds in the battle against this devastating disease we will always be here."
The vaccine has been developed by Novartis.
It received a 'Positive Opinion' from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) on November 15 last year for use in individuals from two months of age and older.
Upon regulatory approval the vaccine will be the first licensed broad coverage vaccine to help protect all age groups against Men B disease, including infants, the age group at the greatest risk of infection.
The company has spent two decades seeking a solution to prevent MenB disease.
Read more in tomorrow's Citizen.