Promoted by Mark Ward-Jones on behalf of the Torfaen Constituency Labour Party at 27 Brunel Road, Fairwater, Cwmbran, Torfaen NP44 4QT.
Nick Thomas-Symonds has urged the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to take into account ‘peace of mind’ for parents when evaluating the proposed changes to the meningitis B vaccine at a Westminster Hall debate yesterday. The Torfaen MP also called for a ‘sense of urgency’ in reviewing these changes.
The debate was called in response to an online petition calling on the Government to make provision of meningitis B vaccination to all children, at least up to the age of 11. The petition has been signed by more than 800,000 people and is the ‘most-signed online petition in parliamentary history’. It was boosted following a campaign by the family of two year old Faye Burdett who died on Valentine’s Day this year after an 11 day battle with the disease.
Around 1,200 people- mainly babies- get meningitis B each year in the UK and around one in 10 die from the infection. In Wales alone, around 44 people a year contract the disease.
Over 12% of meningitis cases are in the 14-24 age group. Teens and young people are the second most at risk group after babies. Research conducted by Meningitis Now shows that four of 10 people aged 18-24 cannot name any symptoms, despite 90% hearing of meningitis and 25% knowing someone who had it. From August, the vaccine will be offered to all students under 25 who are attending university for the first time this autumn.
Mr Thomas-Symonds said, ‘Meningitis is a terrible disease and it is critical that we are doing the right thing to keep our children safe, which is why I urge the JCVI to act. I applaud the tireless work of Meningitis Now, both in this particular campaign and more generally. Earlier in the year I signed a pledge to become a ‘Future Builder’ for the charity and will continue to raise awareness about the dangers of meningitis’.