By Lauren Everitt
Monday, January 28, 2013
A COUPLE whose baby boy died from meningitis have joined the fight for a life-saving vaccine.
Mark and Jennifer Smith, who live in Martlesham Heath, lost their nine-month-old son Taylor to Meningitis B in March 2009.
His parents took him to an our-of-hours clinic where we was initially diagnosed as having a gastric bug, but Taylor died in his cot that night.
Since Taylor’s death, the couple, who have two other children, Erin and Morgan, have raised more than £28,000 to help find a vaccine to eradicate meningitis.
Mr and Mrs Smith, who are backing Meningitis UK’s Meningitis B: Beat It Now campaign, are calling on the Government to make a new vaccination against one of the deadliest forms of the disease, available to all children.
Mr Smith said: “The Government owes it to the people who have had children who have died from meningitis to make the vaccine available as part of the childhood immunisation programme.
“They have got to act soon. We have to stop this disease.”
The couple are also emphasising the need for speed as the last major meningitis drug, the pneumococcal vaccine, took five years to be introduced into the immunisation schedule.
Meningitis B affects around 1,870 people each year and six people died from the disease every week. It kills one in 10 and one in three suffer life-changing after-effects.
The drug, Bexsero, is the first Meningitis B vaccine licensed for use in the UK and could save lives.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will decided whether the Meningitis B vaccine should be included in the schedule and what age groups should receive it this summer.