A campaigner today spoke of his joy after it was announced that immunisation programmes against deadly meningitis which claimed the life of his son are to be rolled out.
From September, vaccination for babies against meningococcal group B (MenB) will be introduced into the country’s routine immunisation programme for children and from August, 17 and 18-year-olds will be offered a one-off vaccine against meningococcal groups ACWY (MenACWY).
Meningococcal bacteria has for decades been the single largest cause of meningitis and septicaemia in the UK. Young children and adolescents are most at risk, with contracting the illness leading to death in 10 per cent of all cases and to long-term after effects in a further 36 per cent.
Ken Robinson has fund-raised for the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) ever since his son Glenn died from the illness aged just 16 in 1997. Ken, now 70, has generated more than £80,000 for the foundation with the aim of stopping the disease harming future generations.
Speaking about the announcement of the immunisation programmes, Ken, of Newbottle, said: “It’s ecstacy for me as far as I’m concerned. It’s something that we have dreamed of and now it’s going to be rolled out. What a fantastic feeling it is.”
Ken added that he wanted to thank all of those who have contributed to fund-raisers and helped promote awareness of meningitis.
It’s something that we have dreamed of and now it’s going to be rolled out. What a fantastic feeling it is.Ken Robinson
“I can’t thank those people enough,” he said. “This is something that’s been nearly 20 years in coming for me.”
The MenACWY vaccination programme is in response to the continued increase in the number of cases of a virulent new strain of meningococcal W (MenW) meningitis and septicaemia, partly identified by MRF’s Meningococcal Genome Library.
MRF chief executive Christopher Head said: “We are delighted that MenB is to be introduced as Meningitis Research Foundation has been working for many years on a MenB vaccine supporting vital research into its development and testing, and campaigning for its introduction.
“We are also happy that our Meningococcal Genome Library has played an important part in the decision to introduce a MenACWY vaccine for 17 and 18-year- olds.
“Our research programme will now help with the implementation and evaluation of the MenB vaccination programme and our helpline will be available to answer questions about both the vaccination programmes.”
The annual ladies charity cricket match for the Glenn Robinson Appeal takes place on Sunday, July 12, at Philadelphia Cricket Club with the Philadelphia Braves taking on the Fence Houses Yankees.
The first ball will be bowled at 2pm with a family fun day also taking place.