SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has called on the government to publish the details of when the new Meningitis B vaccine (Bexsero) will be given to all babies on the NHS – saying “time lost is lives lost”.
The call comes 8 months after the Department of Health announced that the vaccine is being recommended for inclusion in the National Immunisation Programme.
Mr Durkan, who played a pivotal role in the Beat it Now! campaign to bring in the vaccine, said:
“I share the disappointment of the charity Meningitis Now that it is 8 months since the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended the introduction of the Meningitis B vaccine, yet we still have no date for implementation.
“I fully support their call on government and the vaccine company to complete negotiations with some urgency – as ‘time lost is lives lost’.
“We have a real opportunity to prevent a disease which kills or maims many children and we need to keep it high on the health agenda.
“I am therefore calling for the urgent introduction of the Meningitis B vaccine and that it is made available to all babies on the NHS without further delay.”
Earlier this year, Sue Davie, Chief Executive of the UK’s biggest meningitis charity Meningitis Now, paid tribute to the “incredible” work of Foyle MP Mark Durkan in supporting the Beat it Now! campaign and helping to secure the new vaccine against the deadly Meningitis B disease.
Mr Durkan tabled a number of parliamentary motions at Westminster calling on the government to introduce Bexsero and also supported the local campaign by Derry parents Emma and Darren Cowey who lost their nine-month-old son Jamie to meningitis B in November 2004.