TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Toddler's death promotes awareness of need for MenB vaccine

Two-year-old Faye Burdett died just days after her exposure to meningitis. | Contributed photo

The Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) recently applauded the progress that the Meningococcal Group B (MenB) meningitis vaccine has made this year while sending heartfelt thoughts to the family and friends of Faye Burdett, who died from MenB this week.

In mere hours, more than 400,000 people have signed a petition to include MenB vaccines for people under 11 years old. All of these people received their inspiration from 2-year-old Faye’s tragic death that occurred just days after her exposure.

“The U.K. is the first country to introduce a national and publicly funded infant MenB immunization program in the world,” Dr. Shamez Ladhani, pediatric infectious disease consultant at St George’s University of London, said. “This is a new vaccine and we need to gather as much information as possible from the current program to make informed decisions about how best to protect those who are most at risk. We are targeting the age group most at risk and every year, another birth cohort will be protected by this vaccine. By next year, all 1-year-olds and many 2-year-olds will also be protected against this devastating illness.”

Health professionals see ongoing research as the only way to continue improving efforts to protect people from the disease.

“It is important to emphasize that the U.K. is the first country to introduce MenB vaccination, that babies who are at highest risk are being offered vaccine and that we need to know how well the vaccine is working,” James Stuart, visiting Professor at the University of Bristol and WHO adviser, said. “So it may not be the time yet to widen the program.”

Organizations in this story

Meningitis Research Foundation Bristol, South Gloucestershire BS35 2BS

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