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Meningitis public awareness campaign announced

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The vaccine is currently available for all babies The vaccine is currently available for all babies

A new public awareness campaign on the risks of meningitis, septicemia and sepsis has been announced after an e-petition on the subject triggered a debate in parliament.

The campaign will highlight the symptoms of the condition. Jane Ellison, the minister for public health, announced the campaign in parliament in response to the 25 April debate. She said that the government will work with charities and experts, with further details being released in the near future. The current vaccination is for babies born on or after 1 July 2015 – they receive a dose of vaccine at two months with a further dose at four months and a booster at 12 months.

‘The term meningitis strikes fear into the heart of any parent. Public Health England surveys of parental attitudes regularly show it is the disease that parents fear most,’ said Ms Ellison. ‘They want what is best for their children and this includes protecting them from meningitis if there is a means available.’

The e-petition, which received a record 820,000 signatures, sought to have the vaccination for meningitis available for children up to and including 11 years old. The government has declined to do this, stating that based on evidence, the move would not be cost effected.

‘I have been reassured that the programme we have is the right one, targeting the group of children at highest risk of disease and death, and based on robust and independent academic cost-effectiveness modelling to ensure equity across the health system,’ said Ms Ellison. ‘On the evidence I have, I cannot support extending the MenB vaccination programme to older children.’

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