Dad’s anguish at vaccine setback

DISAPPOINTED:  Ken Robinson on his appointment as an ambassador for Meningitis research and, below, his son Glenn.
DISAPPOINTED: Ken Robinson on his appointment as an ambassador for Meningitis research and, below, his son Glenn.
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A DAD who lost his young son to meningitis is devastated to hear the Government will not yet approve a life-saving vaccine to combat the disease.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the independent body which advises the Government on vaccination, said current evidence was insufficient to support a recommendation for the introduction of immunisation.

It instead called for a population-based evaluation of the vaccine, adding that expertise available in the UK would make the country the ideal setting.

Ken Robinson’s son Glenn, a promising cricketer, died aged 16 after contracting the meningococcal septicaemia strain of the disease in 1997. Since Glenn’s death, Ken has been a tireless campaigner and fund-raiser.

Last year he was made an ambassador for the Meningitis Research Foundation. Today he spoke of his disappointment at the news. “I’ve been speaking to people at the head office and they are devastated and in tears,” said Ken, 68, of Newbottle. “It’s really upsetting because we felt we were so close.”

Sue Davie, chief executive of the Meningitis Trust/Meningitis UK, said: “We understand the committee’s concerns about impact and cost, but we believe this vaccine is safe and we know it will save lives. The more we delay, the more lives are being lost.”

JCVI has invited the Meningitis Trust to respond by September 3.

It says it will consider this response and the advice of its meningococcal sub-committee at a meeting on October 2, before finalising its advice to the Government.