Survivor backs new jab

Andrea Jenkinson of Thornton who survived Meningitis B after spotting the symptoms, thanks to literature from the Meningitis Trust

Andrea Jenkinson of Thornton who survived Meningitis B after spotting the symptoms, thanks to literature from the Meningitis Trust

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NEWS about a lifesaving vaccine has been welcomed by a mum who was left fighting for her life after contracting meningitis.

Andrea Jenkinson, from Thornton, says she is “really pleased” a jab to prevent the potentially-deadly bug has now been issued a licence by the European Commission.

The vaccine, Bexsero produced by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited, is the first ever vaccine against meningococcal B meningitis and septicaemia (MenB) designed to cover most strains of the disease in Europe.

The new inoculation will be considered for implementation in the UK by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) who provide vaccination advice to the Government. They meet in June and if they recommend the new MenB vaccine, it is likely the earliest it could be implemented in the UK is late 2013.

Andrea said: “This is really, really good news. It was the B-strain I contracted.

“It was really only the fact I had made myself aware of the symptoms because my daughter Abigail was four at the time, and I had seen something on TV about meningitis and the importance of knowing the signs, that helped me.

“Because of that, as I got more ill, I was able to work out it was meningitis.

“But this might not be the case for everybody and it can be difficult for people to spot the signs in children.

“Very young children especially can’t express how they are feeling and sometimes by the time the symptoms show it’s meningitis, it can be too late. So if we can prevent people from contracting it in the first place – even if it only saves one life, it’s worth it.”

Andrea fell ill in 2004, while visiting her brother Stuart in Wrexham.

Her limbs were aching, she felt like she had flu, with a high temperature.

She went to bed at 8am feeling really unwell and by 4pm was in hospital having to undergo treatment, including antibiotics.

It was when Andrea had spotted her toes were a reddish purple colour and she developed a mottled rash she alerted her family and went to A&E, suspecting meningitis.

Chris Head, chief executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said: “Now the MenB vaccine is licensed, it is essential Government give it full consideration as soon as possible, especially given the shocking lifetime costs to people who survive MenB and are left with serious, life-long disabilities.”

For more information, hit www.meningitis.org/MenB

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